The “worst years of your life”? Well, maybe. But it isn’t all bad. Here we share some of our favorite middle school memories.
When I was in the 6th grade, my homeroom teacher taught science, and kept gerbils in her classroom. Each week, a different student was responsible for feeding and caring for the gerbils. We all looked forward to our turn. When my week finally rolled around, I arrived early on Monday morning to fulfill my duties. I was shocked and confused to discover tiny, hairless creatures crowded together on one end of the gerbils’ cage. The only similar creatures I’d ever encountered were baby mice that were fed to a pet snake, which happened to reside in our school’s music room. My teacher had a good laugh when I informed her that someone had deposited the snake’s food into our gerbil habitat. Of course it turned out that there was no malicious intent involved – the creatures were just new additions to the gerbils’ family.
One of the strongest motivations for teachers is that their lessons will be remembered. Sometimes, though, it’s the students who are able to put lessons into words their peers will understand. As my eighth-grade algebra teacher explained to us the fundamentals of the x/y axis, a classmate in the back of the room loudly observed, “Y is for ‘yup,’ which rhymes with ‘up.’” Our teacher simply rolled her eyes and thanked him for his contribution, but ever since then, I’ve known which is across and which is up and down by remembering that “Y is for ‘yup.’”
In middle school my best friend and I spent as much time together as possible. We shared a locker even though we didn’t have to (a very tiny locker that had to hold twice the amount books, winter coats, backpacks, plus my violin case). We had several classes together and during the parts of the day when we weren’t together, we used study hall to write notes. We could waste no time in informing each other about what embarrassing thing we did at lunch, or what project was killing us, or what one of our crushes said during the previous period. I know I’m not setting the best example, but rest assured we were still good students, completed our work on time and were never the kind of kids who had to be separated because of talking. And at an age where you can be obsessed with something one day and hate it the next, or the fact that distance, college and growing up can alter those relationships you thought were so crucial as a kid, we can look back on middle school, still best friends after 20 years, and realize it was partly bearable because we had each other.