The condition of our country's middle schools continues to amaze, startle, disgust, and worry me. This article from the NYTimes Magazine mentions the problems with middle schools.
For Raechelle Ellison, 11, transition was marked by tears, nightly pleadings to her mother that she did not want to return and the composition of poetry with verses like, “Life in despair/I don’t really care.”
“Being in middle school is just like a bird being kicked out of its nest by its mother,” Raechelle mused in the cafeteria one recent morning.
A friend from college is doing Teach for America in a middle school in Houston, TX and hearing his stories of classes full of failing students, no students on task, arrests, and death threats make my mouth fall open most of the time. I don't know how teachers stay motivated in that environment, especially the inexperienced TFA ones. Based on what I've heard from 2 people I know who've done TFA, it seems the program is only discouraging young, motivated people from becoming permanent teachers by scaring them away with these poor schools, as opposed to the opposite, which is the intent. More thoughts to come on TFA later... I'll have to get my friend to chime in on that.