When I tell people that I am studying to be a secondary teacher, I’m always given a surprised look and then asked, “What grade do you want to teach?” Before teacher assisting, I was sure that I would never want to teach middle school, because obviously the students of that age are the worst! Then my placement arrived in the mail and I learned that I would be working an eighth grade classroom at Northern Hills Middle School. I was a little bummed because eighth grade? Who wants to work with eighth graders?
I can firmly say that after the past semester, I would not be opposed to working with eighth graders again. While every group of students is different and I had a unique experience working with students in a district where parents were very involved in their children’s education, I learned something amazing while working with these kids: They had not yet lost their creativity. As a future educator, I’ve learned that supporting students’ creativity will help them engage in the content and help them grow as human beings. But I also learned that too often, teachers have lost sight of creativity because of “all the stuff they have to get done.” Below, I’ve shared a picture of one student’s creativity in his idea for a product which the students had to come up with for a business project to demonstrate their understanding of systems of equations. This is only one example. I was blown away by the creativity that was bursting from these students!
Simply because of the obvious creativity, I would love to work with eighth graders again. But I haven’t worked with high school yet, so perhaps there is some secret creativity waiting for the right moment to shine.