The Maturing (Or Not) of Seventh Graders

Three weeks remain in the school year. That equals 15 days, or 60 class sessions, or 105 hours pinched in between the opening and closing bells. The students also know these facts. A wave of stupidity usually begins to flow in about this time of the year, sort of like the tide rolling in. It’s the school version of spring fever.

In teaching seventh grade this year I’ve noticed how many of the students have matured. Many have come to understand that they can do excellent work, comprehend what was once incomprehensible, and engage in discussions in ways that make me say “That’s a great point!”

On the flip side of the coin, there are the Goobers who are still committed to pirating the classroom ship and sailing it to the harbor of nonsense. They are the Timmy Little’s and Johnny Davis’s of my RED HOT novel series who cause some of their teachers to grind their teeth and chew on their fingernails.

Seventh grade seems to be the year where the gap widens between those who are growing up and those who aren’t ready to grow up. It’s amusing to me during these past few weeks to notice some of the girls beginning to roll their eyes at the actions of some of their male classmates. I prefer the rolling of the eyes versus the emerging “batting of their eyelashes” that seems to surface in eighth grade.

Some seventh graders have a hard time emerging from their goofiness stage. It’s as much a part of them as that hoodie they’ve worn to school, and throughout the school day, for the whole year. In fact, as a teacher you’ve come to associate the Mountain Dew hoodie with a certain student. At some point the evolution of goofiness into naturally funny or entertaining occurs, but it might not happen until the kid is halfway through high school. Until then, he still has to be reminded to tie his shoes, not pick his nose in class, and take all of his belongings with him when he exits the classroom.

Maturity, however, has arrived like a sunrise for some of my students. I have to admit, most of them, but not all, are females. They seem to find the path through the woods of our assignments easily and navigate without the help of their instructor. Their grades are proof. The girls in my class have a GPA of 2.96, just a good quiz away from a 3 point average. The boys have a GPA of 2.27. Perhaps…perhaps the boys are more proficient in math and science, but maybe their language skills are an indication of the reality of the moment.

Hey! I was one of those 2.27 kids myself when I was in seventh grade! In fact, their were a few report cards that a 2.27 would have been a welcomed great improvement. I matured about four years later…I think! Some days in class is almost like a reminiscing trip to Williamstown (WV) Junior High (7th Grade) and South Zanesville (Ohio) Junior High (8th Grade). We didn’t have cell phones back then, but we did have bored attitudes, restroom infractions, and incredible stupidity!

How might the wind blow the dingey of stupidity in these last fifteen days?

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