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Young Love in the Classroom

Spring has sprung and I have lost my students to their quest for romance.

There are notorious bad days in teaching that those of us in the biz come to expect, like the sugar crash after Halloween, and the day before Christmas vacation.

These are days when we know not to plan anything we really want our students to learn, as it will fall upon people who are quite distracted at that moment in time. 

But nothing brings a classroom down like Spring. Which is a problem since it lasts for two months, not one day.

My seventh graders checked out sometime after the state tests which coincided with the rise of outside temperatures. Children who used to listen to my wisdom, contribute interesting and relevant comments to class discussions are now, well, downright silly. And I recently learned that this is not a phenomenon unique to Middle School, as I listened to reports from my preschooler's teacher.

So is it the warm touch of the sun shining down on students after months of winter that make it hard to concentrate in school?

No.

The smell of the blooming flowers and trees?

No.

But nature is fully responsible for this educational debacle. It's the birds and the bees. Romance is in the air.  Young love explodes along with the cherry blossoms and forsythias in April and May, making our world colorful and our boys and girls drawn to one another with a force stronger than teachers threats of lunch detention or final exams.  

As the classrooms heat up and make it almost unbearable to teach, pre-teen romances are heating up as well, also making it unbearable to teach. Words escape my mouth that sound nothing like the lesson I had planned, and my days are spent repeating any or all of the following phrases:

"Eve, stop playing footsie with Joey."

"Ryan please don't pat Katie on the head; she's not a dog."

"Brett, its not appropriate to give Rachel a back rub in class."

"You know, you do have a final in this class, it might be wise to pay attention."

"No you may not sit with Josh."

"Why not?" (voice rising with incredulity).

"Because last time you sat together I had to send you out of the room for excessive giggling."

Even words relevant to History and not at all funny will bring the class down. We recently began a unit on the causes of the Civil War. I spent an entire lesson on sectionalism (the differences between the south and the north) and every time I uttered the word sectionalism I was met with snickers and giggles. (Say it aloud if you are wondering).

One of my female students even came up in the middle of class to ask me if I knew why the boys were laughing.

"Of course I know!" I was exasperated. "I am trying to be the adult and ignore them. Perhaps you should do the same."

It's not much better on the other side of the educational continuum from what I understand. The rumor in my son's preschool class was that Zoe kissed Daniel on the lips! Now all the girls are trying to kiss and marry the boys.

My son's teachers corroborated the five-year-old reports. Apparently there has been a lot of kissing on the lips going on, so the teachers passed a "no kissing on the lips rule," which was shortly followed by a "no marriage law," as more and more of the kids were trying to seal the deal. I guess they thought if they were married they could bypass the kissing law.

One of his teachers told me they are still trying to circumvent the rules. At indoor recess she noticed a group of them standing suspiciously in the corner of the social hall. When she approached to see what was going on, the lot of them ducked under a table to continue their business, which was presumably kissing.

I think they have it right in the southern states. Start school in August and end in May. We may swelter in those last dog days of summer, but the kids will be too hot to flirt, and possibly too warm to move. Therefore, teachers will have a captive audience. Things will be sizzling in the classroom for sure, but in a very different way.

Laurie Lichtenstein June 06, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Thank you, Merm. Ellen, the point of the article is to shed light on things that go on in the classroom that people outside the field might not be aware of. It is meant to be a humorous look at what happens when working with children. Teachers must have senses of humor-- it is necessary for our survival!! Thanks for reading.
Lisa Buchman June 06, 2012 at 01:59 AM
This brought back memories of my own middle school days! As for my own kids - there was talk of kissing on the kindergarten bus just a few years ago, but interaction with the opposite sex seems to go the other way for a few years before turning back around. Thanks for the humorous preview of what's to come!
BG7 June 06, 2012 at 03:05 PM
11yr olds kissing on the mouth - yea, thats eyebrow raising to me.
Aidan June 06, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Youngsters of all ages have the capacity to wig-out and manufacture excuses to coincide with the close of a school year. Elementary kids breath easier once the standardized tests are over. High schoolers let out their air once school and Regents exams wrap up. Many seniors sprung an enthusiasm leak a few weeks back with the end of AP exams. Anyone in the field knows the cadence of a school year. Kids have a great capacity for giddyness ... even those monsterish high schoolers. Toss a few flurries in the air and they act as though snow's a new invention. Fallin' in love? Yup. That'll do it, too ... for all ages. The first bright, warm sunny day of spring? There they go again. Is there something wrong or unnatural with this? Hardly. It's all part of being us ... and getting re-excited over the years. Welcoming the sort of change we thought might never come 'round again. Personally, I think it's part of the charm of working in a school ... to see youngsters charmed by something ordinary. We all have excuses for giddyness. I hope I never lose it. Ever. You can learn a lot from kids. A lot.
Mela914 June 07, 2012 at 01:15 AM
I disagree w Ellen. The article is just about a teacher finding humor in every day (or every spring) classroom situations! I thought it was hysterical!

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