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Middle Schoolers and Monkeys

Today I had a college student come observe my teaching day.  She wants to be a teacher.  I asked her what she wanted to teach; she said high school.  By the time she left my classroom, she was having second thoughts.  First, she watched as my first two English classes worked in groups to analyze symbolism, characters, conflict, and propaganda in a story.

 Then she watched them take out a Chromebook and get to work writing an essay. She also got to observe  them read and mark the text on an article on insects as a food source.  That led to a great discussion!
  "Wow! We never did anything like this when I was in school," she said.  She couldn't believe how focused and insightful they were-how engaged they were.  The first two classes were my honors classes. I think she was expecting spit wads and mass chaos!
My last class was my reading intervention class.  She watched students read a newsela article at their lexile and take a quiz. She watched them work together on the quiz and discuss possible answers. She watched them get excited when they passed!   She watched them rotate through three different activities.  She saw how focused and insightful the were-how engaged they were.  
"This is middle school," I said.  "See.  It's not so bad, is it?"  
"No," she responded. "Not at all!"
I then took out my phone and showed here these pictures:

She laughed.  "Those are SO cute!"
I explained to her that this is what I love so much about middle school.  They will still cuddle with a stuffed monkey-not so sure a high schooler would do this.  Yet, they are still engaged, insightful. and focused!  What's NOT to love? By the time she left my class, I think she may have been a little less convinced that she  has to teach high school.

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