top of page

If You/Someone You Know is a Middle Schooler

Circa 2006

(Can you guess which one is me?)

First of all, I would like to point out that it has been over 10 years since I started middle school, and so I can already tell you, I'm out of the loop. I'm officially old according to a middle schooler, but I did have the blessing (or possibly the curse) of teaching middle school art last year and I learned oh so much.

Teaching middle schoolers really took me back to 2005, when I first walked into those doors of 6th grade, and it reminded me that you could not pay me any amount of money to go back to that time. Middle school SUCKS. Girls are evil, boys still eat their boogers, and yet somehow they are all seeking to find someone to date.

I'd like to say not much has changed since I graced middle school with my presence, but oh my sweet pancakes how it has. Social media has infected teenagers and preteens like a virus, and I am so glad I didn't have it when I was their age. I got my first cell phone when I was 14, and it didn't have texting, it most certainly didn't have the internet, it didn't even have a front camera that would let me stare at myself all day, and it only had about 20 minutes a month for me to talk to my friends on. So basically, having a cell phone was just to look cool, because we all still called each other on the house phone to save our minutes on our phone. Add a few years on to that and texting became cheaper, so I got that. Then when I was 17, I got the very first iPhone and that's what I had in my hand when I graduated high school. Instagram wasn't introduced into our would until the tail end of my second semester of high school, and no one had it or Snap Chat. Just Facebook and Myspace (omg how ancient).

(My 7th grade yearbook photo...when I was in 7th grade there were not YouTube makeup tutorials to help me...also eyebrows were never on fleek.)

My point with that grandpa rant was to say that Middle schoolers now have about 700 social platforms to have to fit in with. So many places to be called ugly or beautiful, have 10 friends or 1,500 friends. Once something is uploaded to the internet, it is so hard to make it disappear and go away. That is a really big responsibility for someone who still eats their own boogers.

The pressure to look, talk, and act like you are an adult is heavy in middle school. Much higher than when I was. I watched my middle schoolers for 9 months taunt and tease each other, and I listened to conversations that shouldn't be happening for about 6 more years (or ever), but they were all so used to it. They were all participating in it, and if they weren't then they were totally left out and "weird". But if I had a one-on-one conversation with them, it was like I was actually talking to a 12 year old. I know that the longing to still act like a kid is in there, they just aren