Teachable Moments: Seventh Grade

If you need your ego stroked on a daily basis, do not teach seventh grade.

Fifth graders are cute enough to make you presents. Seniors in high school are old enough to want to be like you. Seventh graders want nothing to do with you. You know somewhere deep down in their hormonal little hearts they harbor some love and affection for you, but they will never show it.

Do not teach seventh grade if you are afraid to be silly in front of pre-teens. If you are not willing to answer the question, “Ms. J-T, do you know how to dab?” by demonstrating your awful dance skills, causing twenty-eight youngsters to pee themselves with laughter, then don’t even think about it.

Don’t teach seventh grade if the sight of stankface sinks your spirits. Don’t enter a classroom unless you have some armor on to remember that their angst is not personal.

Do teach seventh grade if you fervently believe that learning good writing skills will propel your students to college.

Do teach seventh grade if you treasure a conversation that you had about Tupac and Afro-Latinidad with one of your lovely students. Do teach seventh grade if you’re willing to laugh at yourself because you mostly learned about Pac from an NPR podcast.

Do teach seventh grade if you melt when you get to talk to parents in Spanish, and declare one of the mothers your bff when she thanks you for disciplining her child and for helping them become young citizens of the world.

Do teach seventh grade if you think it’s precious that a mother will announce in front of her child that she finally has a friend who is a boy. You should definitely teach seventh grade if you identify with this bookish, sensitive child who loves to talk to her teachers.

Do teach seventh grade if you’re passionate about helping kids find and articulate their identities with a confidence and space that you were never given as a child.

And finally, if you do decide to embark on this crazy journey of seventh grade English, you must never forget why you enter the building every day:



One thought on “Teachable Moments: Seventh Grade

  1. I LOVE this!! I worked with middle-schoolers (grades 5-8) two days last week (for English, Science, and Math – as a sub at the local school here on MDI) – such a fun and stimulating experience. I am going back for more days this month. Thanks for sharing your wisdom about teaching 7th grade; as always, you write with insight and wit and playfulness – wish you had been my 7th grade teacher! xo Martha


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