Thompson: "The Middle School Type"
My old high school was the lowest performing in the state, but the challenge we faced was not comparable to the problems in our middle school. When I used to turn the corner from our high school wing and into the middle school hall, I was often hit by a wall of sound that was so intense that it was physically painful. I would look that the "thousand yard stares" of the 8th grade teachers, see the screaming tweens, and often choose another route to my class. Peter Meyer's "The Middle School Mess" in Education Next provides insight into why neighborhood middle school teachers have to adopt the personalities of bungee jumpers. His best idea is breaking up the critical mass of students in the "psychosocial-engagement holding pens" that we call middle school. In a challenging middle school with 900 students, the troublemaking ten percent (90 kids) will wreack havoc. In a comparable 900 student pre-k to 8th school, the 30 most most challenging students will be more manageable. - JT (@drthompson)