Saturday, November 17, 2012

Site of the Week: Middle School

The Site of the Week this week is focused on a grade band close to my heart: middle school. When I went for my master's degree, it was always my intention to focus on middle school. There is something about this age that I love. Kids in grades 6-8 are sassy, curious and very, very funny. They get sarcasm but can be compassionate and sincere. They love to play but want to be taken seriously. They stand on the precipice of young adulthood, but they still make fart jokes and build things with cardboard and skip down the hall.

Middle school was featured on NPR's "This American Life" last week, and that broadcast is the Site of the Week. The voices of the students (and the befuddlement of the adults in the recording, at times) reflect clearly the voices of students in middle school everywhere. Many people find this age exasperating, and as a parent I can understand that; La Petite has her moments, for sure. The take-away, though, is that if we let our kids find their voice and we listen to what they have to say with an open mind and heart, they will keep talking to us, and if they keep talking to us, we can forge a bond that is strong and resilient, much like middle school kids themselves.

Listen to this podcast with your middle school kid, and ask them what they think about it after. Tell them about your experiences in middle school (mine were fairly horrible; mostly I remember being completely uncomfortable for the majority of the time. That and throwing up on a ride at the fair, an event so traumatic that no one even mentioned it, just flashed sympathetic and vaguely disgusted glances at me for a couple weeks afterwards), and ask about theirs.

Have a great weekend!

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