I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the American Middle Level Association conference for the second time this year! It was held in Nashville, TN and was 3 days full of information that strengthened beliefs, tested my beliefs, and opened my ideas to practices I can use in the classroom.
I absolutely love the atmosphere of AMLE. To be surrounded by hundreds of people that share the same, strong, passion for middle level education gives you a feeling that you are a part of something much bigger. This ‘something’ is something that will eventually change the view of middle level education.
Unfortunately, the kids in the middle level are often forgotten about. In many cases, they are treated as students who are in preparation for high school education. It is that awkward phase of learning between carpet times in elementary school to intense bell schedules of the high school. With many people having this mindset, the needs of young adolescents are often being forgotten about. It is somewhat a different “species” of students that are usually being taught by teachers who do not understand these needs, have little passion for this age group, and generally just want to be somewhere else and ended up being stuck there.
As for me, I love the middle level. I have said it multiple times before, but teaching this age group is something that I want to do with my life. I do not want to be stuck in the middle, I want to find myself in the middle. By being around people that share this idea with me gives me the push to continue on to teaching these wonderful kids.
I want to be a middle level teacher that changes the outlook of others when they look at young adolescents. I want middle level to be the age that EVERYONE wants to teach – because it should be. With going to these conferences, I can see my dream of being a middle level teacher – who reaches out to her kids, makes them want to come to class, makes learning interesting, and overall makes a difference – more of a reality.