I'm sorry to say that so far teaching middle schoolers has not given me much hope in the goodness of human nature.
When I taught English to immigrant adults I was often encouraged by the tenacity of people who would come to a 2 hour class after a 10 hour work day and before a night of housekeeping in order to learn the skills to give their families a better life.
And even though I'm no idealist, it made me think... just sometimes ....that maybe people are basically good after all.
But teaching their ruthless kids has made me take that all back.
In the past few days alone:
I had one 6th grader, 11 or 12 years old, just start to punch and smack another kid in classout of the blue. The punchee was in tears afterward, too embarrassed to go to go to the nurse or the bathroom or even talk to me. I still don't know what happened.
-I had a whole group of 7th graders laughing hysterically over an art project of the various subway lines hanging on the wall. I really couldn't understand why the fact that the Ruggles station had been left out was so hilaaaarious. It was only when the artist came up to me afterward in tears asking to take the project down that I realized that they were only using the drawing to torture the poor kid.
Oh, I know.
Someone meant to teach urban kids would be more understanding. They're just children, all horribly insecure, wanting approval and attention, bad home lives, rough neighborhoods, multicultural adjustments, yada yada yada....
But dang those mean kids piss me off.