Hallway Drama

Yesterday out middle school did the play production of “Beauty and The Beast”. It was a rousing success, filled with great performances and the little snickering moments of a middle school play. As I thought about it, the idea came to mind for another production that has potential. First there was High School Musical. Now there could be Middle School Hallway Drama.

Between classes as students stroll, roam, and occupy the school corridors, it is entertaining and revealing to watch their behavior, conversation, and avoidances. I notice the squirrel-ish sixth-graders, the beagle-ish seventh-graders, and the fowl-ish eighth-graders. It’s the school version of the animal kingdom.

There is more communication, verbal and non-verbal, in the five minutes of hallway occupation between class periods than there is in the sixty minutes of classroom instruction. Girls who refuse to say a word in class suddenly explode with a fountain of conversation, intermingled with gazing at their cell phones to see if any incredible messages have arrived in the last ten seconds. Boys assert their manhood by banging into lockers and talking about anything that is not connected to academics.

Hallway drama includes the revealing of secrets. Mr. Brown yelled at Johnny Thompson for falling asleep in class. Jimmy Green was caught cheating on the math quiz and sent to the office. He didn’t come back! Probably suspended for like a month! Judy White’s new hair style makes her resemble a ferret. The mac-and-cheese they served in the cafeteria at lunch tasted like lumpy paint.

Hallway eighth-graders are revealing of the class Casanovas and their romantic targets. Certain boys are in search of hugs from young ladies that they long to be close to…for longer periods of time! Hallway hugging may be the source of more middle school kids passing along infections than any other cause amongst their age group. There is minimal concern about breath so bad it could kill a cow as there is for the need to be embraced.

Less romantically-interested students congregate together to watch Billy Ray conquer level 368 on his cell phone video game. It’s amazing to see six boys following the action that is occurring on a screen that is 3×6 inches. Instructive tips are shared by the viewers to the gamer, as well as ridicule and laughter about gaming failed moves.

A few students actually talk to their teachers in the hallway. That is, to the teachers who aren’t in need of a five minute break from a community of adolescence. Students talk to me because they know I have a stash of Smarties available for students who deserve a few moments of sugar. I get asked questions such as, “What are we doing in class today?” Answer: Stuff. And, “Mr. Wolfe, I’m one of your favorite students, aren’t I?” Answer: “Yes. You’re in my top 500!”

Areas that are rarely visited during the five-minute passing periods are the restrooms. The urge for a student to do his/her necessary business is reserved for class time. Why waste valuable hallway time to do something as meaningless as emptying one’s bladder?

Hallway drama…or comedy reveals the kids who see the school setting as their primary social environment, the students who don’t want to be there, and the emerging teens who are trying to figure out who they are. There are tears of betrayal and rejection, and laughter caused by antics and funny sayings. There are kids rushing to get to their next classroom and others who lounge around until the last possible moment. There are fashion statement and misunderstandings, boys who have over-indulged on the Axe body spray and others who have not yet discovered what deodorant is.

Hallway drama is an experience that entertains all of the scents and causes the teaching staff to smile, frown, and shake their heads in disbelief.

Yes, this has major theatrical production possibilities!

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