I think we can all agree that the ages of 12-15 are some of the most difficult and awkward years of one's life. Friends come and go...many times over...often with lots of drama. Acne may explode all over your face. Your parents somehow lose their minds, while becoming uncool at the same time. And you suddenly have this deep sense of attraction for others. Middle school, as we know it, is difficult and painful all at the same time.
This past January, the Milford Junior High Choir performed the musical "The Lion King" after many months of hard work and preparation. Nearly 50 students took the stage and performed masterfully in front of their parents, grandparents, peers, teachers, and other patrons in attendance. After the show concluded and the students took their rightfully earned applause I asked myself, "Who were these kids?" On a daily basis, some these same students can be shy, socially awkward, and afraid to show off their true selves. Yet, in front of nearly 400 people they were composed, confident, and able to carry a tune.
One of the featured numbers during the performance is "Hakuna Matata" and as I listened to the words of the song many thoughts came racing through my mind. As the song states:
Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata, ain't no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days....
For many, if not all, junior high students we don't get to see their "true selves" as worrying is part of their daily vocabulary. Does my hair look good enough? Will he/she notice me at lunch today? What is that smell? How am I ever going to get this project done? Did I just get a SnapChat? Why won't [insert name] snap me back? And the list of worries goes on and on and on. However, for over an hour during the performance these same kids, while probably nervous and scared to be in the bright lights, were able to act as if they didn't have a worry in the world. They took the message of "Hakuna Matata" to heart and when the performance ended they were all smiles for ear to ear.
Our jobs as educators is to help students get through the "worrying stage" of life. There is no doubt that being a middle level student is some of the toughest years in one's life. However, by providing students the opportunities to participate in activities such as musicals, sports, band, choir, FCCLA, FBLA, etc they can grow the confidence needed to perform and possibly just be themselves.
Five for Friday this week focuses on technology...sort of. All articles are either tech specific or the impact that technology has on schools and society.
1. Looking for a good "Sci Fi" book that could/will become our reality? Check out "The Circle" by Dave Eggers.
2. A great article that was shared from @KarenHaase, "Dear Well-Meaning (But Ignorant) Parents: This Is What Your Teens Are Really Doing on the Internet"
3. "8 Technologies That Will Shape Future Classrooms" from Hongkiat.com
4. How important are lockers in schools? Interesting read about schools in Minnesota that have decided the space can be better used.
5. One last great read for the week. What happens when technology fails us and we have to live without it? "Station Eleven" will make you think about life without technology.
Milford Jr/Sr High Principal