Thursday, October 18, 2007

Middle School Tidbits

M: Eighth graders are HORRIFYING.

I've been meaning to update on middle school, but haven't gotten to it, in part because of my privacy policies (only write things about my children which I would be OK with them reading, and this is not a hypothetical stance, because M does read my blog, if erratically) (feel the need to restate policy because of recent discussions about people who do not share policy and behave, in my opinion, quite egregiously toward children's privacy, and no, I'm not talking about anyone who reads this blog) (I'm pretty sure).

Basically middle school is going great for M. The bus is fine, she has made tons of new friends, she likes her teachers and classes (for the most part), and she is definitely learning. She wrote her first five-paragraph essay, and while I am ambivalent about the pedagogical implications of that milestone, it was a very nice essay, and she could not have written it last May. She is also prone to sudden outbreaks of Latin, and she was all excited to see an article about Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, because now she knows what a homo sapien is.

She is also quite delightful these days, and I do think the middle school independence and excitement has something to do with it. She loves to pick E up from school, and is very patient about getting her snacks and playing with her. She does her homework completely on her own, with only the occasional reminder that the day is moving on and now might be a good time. She is doing killer swim team workouts with nary a complaint. And she still sends me "I love you" texts, just about daily.

So, middle school: all good.

Except not quite. I am not so thrilled with the school, generally speaking. The physical plant is appalling, her history teacher is a psycho who should have retired long ago (I can say this here because she agrees), and the pedagogy, well, let's just say that inquiry, experimentation, and independence could play a little (a lot!) more of a role. Oh, and the discipline thing is just ridiculous. There's a teacher--not in M's cluster, thank goodness--who gives detention when kids put their heads on the desk (and seems not to realize that if she is giving five or six detentions a day, THIS POLICY IS NOT WORKING). And M was really excited not to have her cluster meeting yesterday, because, according to her, all they do in cluster meeting is yell at them. Nice.

But this is all a preamble for the question of whether middle school health centers should be allowed to prescribe birth control without parents knowing. To which my answer is: hell, yeah. And I'm a middle school parent, and it would be fine with me if the nurses at M's school prescribed birth control to her without telling me. So there.

Now, I doubt this would happen, because M and I are pretty communicative, and I am annoyingly intrusive. And it certainly wouldn't happen now, because M is on the still-a-kid side of the sixth grade spectrum. But there are some sixth graders--OK one, and yes, it's the one you're thinking of, if you know the sixth grade cast of characters--who might very well be in a position to need birth control, and would be unlikely to tell their parents. And those eighth graders? Remember what M said? They're horrifying, which does not mean that they are bad or scary or ugly, but rather that they are very big and grown-up, which to a still-a-kid sixth grader is, in a word, horrifying.

So we get back to the old debate, and I know where I stand: if kids are going to have sex--and they are--they need birth control, and if they aren't going to talk to their parents--and many of them aren't--they should be able to get the birth control on their own. Even in middle school. Even my kid.


Kelly said...

I gotta agree with you there, even though I'm horrified/terrified. And not looking forward to it at all. I know it's going to be a whole different beast with the girl than with my boy who is now in HS and beginning to act on things. Egads.

Dawn said...

I'm right with you and even though I know your middle school starts younger than our middle school, I still can't believe M is IN middle school because that sounds preposterously old. My god.