Saturday, July 31, 2010

Middle Schooler? Middle Child?

So I was thinking this morning about how, in many ways, middle school kids play the same role in the American educational system that middle children play in the family.  In families, first borns get a lot of attention.  They have also been around longer and know how to work the system.  Sounds like the high schoolers to me!  High schools, in California anyway, are funded at a higher rate than lower grades.  More money is tantamount to more attention.  HS kids  know how to work the system whether that means getting more out of education or getting out of more education.  The younger kids in families are cute and attractive to pretty much everyone.   The little elementary kids are cute too.  Their behaviors, their classrooms, their artwork:  cute, cute, cute.  Parents and teachers are focused on core academics.  The younger grades are often when learning disabilities are first discovered and addressed.  If a little kid is acting out, thoughts go immediately to some sort of "issue" - as in ADHD, learning disability, vision or auditory issue, or some such thing.  And then we have the middle child in a family.  These kids can easily be lost in the middle.  They can be relatively invisible, particularly when compared to their cuter younger sibs or their more saavy older sibs. Or, they can make themselves seen by choosing a more visible role in the family (no matter how troublesome that role may be).  That's the thing about middle school kids, too.  They are good at hiding, if they want to.  Or they can make themselves very visible in ways that make many adults uncomfortable.  Either way, I love them!

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