Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The end of the middle

El is nearly finished with middle school.

Next year the girls will go to the same school for the first time in four years. They have individual interests and activities, so I doubt that their comings and goings will coincide every day, but I'm looking forward to the occasional coordinated departure or arrival. The thought of no more separate back-to-school nights sends thrills of delight down my spine.

One of the things that mystifies me about middle school is the schedule.

In elementary school the teacher writes each days activities on the wipe board. High school students receive the schedule on the first day of school and it stays the same all year. The electives meet on opposite days, but the classes meet at the same time each day.

Middle school students have the most complex schedule I've ever seen. When Mo came home with her 7th grade schedule my eyes crossed. My eyes may have spun. Visual overload.

Want me to explain it?
No way. Do you understand it?
Yes. Maybe.
All right then.

Over the last four years, osmosis has granted partial understanding. Talk of 3B White and 5A Red days with a split lunch and double Team Time no longer causes heart palpitations, just the same kind of general anxiety I get when I hear someone order a drink at Starbucks. Not only are there several periods a day, but the classes meet on a rotating basis. So if yesterday she went to period 1 first, today she would go to period 2 first, and so on. There are six six-week arts courses that rotate throughout the year. Since I have not mastered the concept of how to discern when double classes occur, I cannot even fathom the complexity of double classes that meet over lunch. It might depend on the color code of the day.

I wonder why 'they' would subject middle schoolers to such craziness. Do you remember what it was like to be twelve, thirteen, fourteen? It seems to me that it's a cruel joke to play on kids whose emotions are swinging out of control and whose bodies are set to full morph:

Let's give them schedules that by nature have no predictability.

It's a probability lesson gone haywire. Like middle school students amped up on Starbucks.

Ah, now I get it.

More coffee, please. I take it black.


flutter said...

that sounds really confusing, I would have exploded at that age

Straight to Your Hart said...

I still have nightmares of not being able to unlock my locker in time for the next class...sick joke the JR. High plays:):)

I have to remind myself when reading the 7th grade novel of instructions to ask my daughter what it all means because she gets it better. If all else fails...I just pretend to know. Daughter thinks I'm smart. So do her friends. Ha, Ha, see, I can even have them fooled...tehe

Woman in a Window said...

Thankfully we just have primary and secondary school up here. No guess work. Just fingers crossed.

Denise K. said...

Yes, middle school schedules are crazy and the lack of communication makes it so hard to know what is "going on." Glad the girls had it all figured out....Kyle still wonders what is happening when! :-)

Rayne said...

My younger daughter's middle school schedule was the same way. Both in Germany and here in Nebraska. I never did really figure it out, I just kind of went with the flow and hoped she knew what she was doing.