Does anyone remember the book series “Snaps”? If you didn’t, I feel somewhat sorry for you. These books were a series of joke books, many in poor taste or inappropriate, but geared towards a certain age bracket… or so I thought. Recently, I came across my collection.
I opened the first book up, and immediately exploded with laughter. The books are stupid. They are funny. They reminded me something I tend to forget from time to time: I’ll forever be a middle school teacher. I taught 8th-grade social studies for eight years and loved every minute of it. Sure, you had bad days like everyone else, but if I was asked to go back in a classroom, it would be with 8th graders. Saturated in sarcasm, dipped in goofiness, sprinkled with drama, and in the end, kids, this grade level was a rare breed to like. You love it or hate it; and if you hate it, 8th graders know and they will take advantage of it. I started thinking about all of the great times and laughs (yes, laughs) I had when I was in 8th grade and taught 8th grade. It’s as if we all knew it was the time to be a clown before you mustered up for high school. I could not be more thankful for having the chance to work with this age group. And yes, I was just as goofy (some might say I still am).
Besides loving every minute of it, I worked with an amazing staff and a principal who, to this day, I would walk on hot coals for. I still refer to them as my second family. When I left to become an assistant principal, I was somewhat sad for a bit. I missed my crew. When I told my Superintendent this, he told me “There’s nothing wrong with missing them. Your first school will always be your home.” Churchill Junior High School was, and is still, my home. I’m thankful for them.
Being an assistant principal in a middle school was jut as fun. Sure, I was the ‘bad cop’ who dealt with the ‘frequent flyers’ to the office, but those special snowflakes and I created special relationships. We laughed, we joked around, and we promised each other we would be better. And we were. It was also nice to work with a staff that gets the middle school mind. You need to be flexible, roll with the punches, and laugh every single day. If you don’t, you’ll get dragged into the black hole of ineffectiveness. I am thankful for my experiences there as well.
While the majority of my experiences have not been dealing with 8th graders directly as a K-12 Supervisor and as a Superintendent, I still use my middle school level of thinking every day. I still find a way to laugh, I still use my sarcasm and wit, and yes, I still laugh at a good ‘snap’.
I’m thankful for all of it, as all of it has put me in the place where I am today.
Now, go read something else before I think of a snap for you.