I love middle school.
My high school teacher friends think I am slightly crazy and my elementary colleagues don’t understand. But it is true.
Middle school rocks.
As I take my place in that hormonal primordial stew seasoned with Axe and bravado, I know I am home. And there is no place like home. It isn’t always smooth sailing and there is typically more than one person ready to tell you what you do not know. But home is where the heart is and as devoted middle school teachers will tell you, there is no shortage of heart among their students.
Middle school kids still laugh at the obvious. They may have one foot in childhood and the other in the grown-up world, but they are still young at heart. Their unbounded energy is contagious. They are exploring their interests and their capacity for empathy. They are beginning to make the essential link between work and success. They are old enough to be responsible and simultaneously young enough to care.
Yes, they are a volatile potion of combustible elements. Yes, they are a fragile package of contradictions. But there is also unmatched enthusiasm, life and curiosity resulting in passion, animation, and discovery.
Success in middle school isn’t necessarily quantifiable. The data doesn’t always reside on a spread sheet. Success in middle school is measured in moments, those tangible experiences when kids find their voices, discover their talents. Facilitating the journey into adolescence is as rewarding as it is exhausting. It is a lot like mastering the obstacles on American Ninja Warrior. You need to be smart, flexible and strong. You must effectively manage your allotted time. Above all else, you need to be committed to being the best you can be every day. Middle school, like the warp wall, is not for the weak. It can be all consuming.
It’s a work out. But then you hit the buzzer. And suddenly, it is all worth it.