Seventh grade is a grade I managed to avoid in my 17 years of teaching. Believe it or not, I have taught every single grade except 7th grade.
When I first started teaching, I thought I only wanted to teach the little ones. I taught ABC’s and counting for a few years.
Then a move back to my hometown forced me to take a job at the middle school level and I found I liked that maybe a little more than the elementary.
For 17 years, I bounced around from elementary to middle to elementary to middle to high school and back to middle school.
I thought I found my place when I was involuntarily moved to the high school. It was the most challenging and the most rewarding job I’ve probably ever had.
Then, because I clearly like change, I moved to 8th grade and thought I could easily stay there forever. I spent 5 years in 8th grade, my longest stint in teaching.
How silly was I to think that!?
I was moved to 7th grade this year and I wanted to cry, “But I don’t like 7th graders!!”
For some reason, I had developed this unfair but very real fear/dislike for these awkward, hormonal preteens. I was always one to boast I had never taught 7th grade.
Well, let me say here, on the last day of my first year in 7th grade, I was wrong.
I love 7th graders.
Want to know why 7th grade trumps 8th grade?
I have seven reasons.
1. 7th graders still think you are funny. Hilarious even. 8th graders think you are lame.
2. 7th graders want to be the Teacher’s Pet and want to help you with everything. 8th graders want to be cool. (Teacher’s Pet = NOT cool)
3. 7th graders want you to like them. 8th graders couldn’t care less if you do.
4. 7th graders say “Hi” and acknowledge you in public, and then they talk about it the next day. 8th graders act like you are invisible.
5. 7th graders never forget funny moments. It could be months later and they keep an inside joke going and going and going…. “Zach Frost” was a joke that started in early winter. Even though it hasn’t snowed in months, it still comes up at least once a week.
6. 7th graders ask, “Can we have you again next year?” 8th graders rarely even say good-bye.
7. Whether it’s “officially changing your name to Fa-Delmo”, doing an Irish jig in study hall, or happily and willingly playing board games with the teacher for three periods on the last day of school, 7th graders just make me smile.