Cool Tricks I’ve Learned From My Middle School Students

  1. Snaking one ear bud up through the back of your hoodie is a super stealthy way to listen to music in class.
  2. If you receive a text in class, ALWAYS say it is from your mom.
  3. You can get out of your seat and wander around as often as you please so long as your reason is legit. Here are the best excuses to use: I need a tissue, My pencil needs to be sharpened, I have to throw something away, My hands need to be sanitized…
  4. Meowing in class is really fun. And it’s hard for the teacher to pinpoint where the noise is coming from.
  5. Need to get out of class for a while? Easy…if you’re a girl. Just tell your teacher that you’re having a “female” problem accompanied by a sheepish look. Most of the time you’ll even get to take a friend. Bonus!!
  6. Go ahead and lean back in your chair. Don’t listen to your teacher; hardly anyone ever actually falls.
  7. Don’t answer questions unless the teacher’s offering a reward like candy or bonus points. Then, answer everything…even if you don’t know the answer.
  8. Cut out a phone sized shape into a book and carry it with you to all of your classes. This is the perfect way to conceal your phone so you can text during class.
  9. When a teacher threatens to call home, it never hurts to tear up or start crying. Depending on the teacher, this may buy you a few days.
  10. When a bad progress report gets sent home, lie to your parents and tell them that you have NO idea how she screwed up your grade, but you’ll talk to her and fix it tomorrow. This can backfire on you quickly though if your parents decide to email your teacher.

PS…I LOVE my job and my students!! Sometime I’ll write a post about all the other amazing things they’ve taught me!

41 thoughts on “Cool Tricks I’ve Learned From My Middle School Students

  1. Hahahaha! Loved all of these. Students are so funny. I can’t wait to see more. I may have to put an elementary list together (I’ll link to my inspiration of course). Kid logic is the best logic.

    #6 When you do fall, it is someone else’s fault.
    #7 Get indignant because treats/rewards did not become a permanent part of the classroom routine.

    • Thank you! I will definitely be looking for the elementary list. I’m sure they have plenty of tricks too! I like your #7 comment. Just last week five of my boys staged an intervention on me to complain that I was no longer throwing enough Jolly Ranchers out during class. I was threatened with losing my most favored teacher status!

      • I love that they confronted you. Mine confront me for eating stuff out of the treat box. I feel bad too, but sometimes a Laffy Taffy makes the day go by faster.

  2. As the parent of a middle-schooler I thank you for letting me know what he’s up to! But I’m sorry to say….I’m not going to be sharing this post with him……no sense giving him ideas he hasn’t already had!

    • And I thank you for do middle school teachers everywhere!! My students just clued me in on the “cell phone inside of the book” trick. 🙂

  3. Awesome post. And while I am at it, your blog is so aesthetically pleasing! The perfect combination of colors and images. Well done:)

  4. Nice pictures and yeah, students’ tricks are also evolving. Haha. Hey, what ages are middle school students? Is it from 7th to 8th grade only?

    • Yes, they are 7th and 8th grade students who are 12-14 years old. I actually teach in a huge secondary school which houses grades 7-12. There are about 600 students per grade level so there are approximately 3,000 students who are enrolled in my school.

      • That’s a large school! We are just starting the k+12 curriculum here. The junior high school is from 7th to 10th grade. Each year level in my school has around a thousand students…

      • Yeah… Well, there are different types of school here… The school I am teaching in is classified as a Big School (obviously.hehe)… So the teachers are really separated by department, we have our department heads… When I was teaching in a private school, we were like a family… I could get friends with the other subject teachers… If you know what I mean

  5. Great post! Having been the parent of three middle schoolers, I have a lot of respect for middle school teachers. My friends who teach this safe group have assured me that they love this age. I think it takes a special person and I can you definitely know kids this age really well!

    • Haha! My students just told me about this trick recently. Typically they use their agenda books to cut up since they are supposed to carry them to all classes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  6. as a middle school student, i’ve learned a lot from this ;3 but i couldn’t bear to cut a hole in a book, even if i could use my phone – books are just too precious!!

    • They typically use their agenda books…a daily planner where they are supposed to write their homework down. And I agree, I could never tear up a book! I’m glad I’ve taught you some tricks. The meowing is particularly maddening, especially if you get a few friends involved.

  7. As a fellow middle school teacher, most of these tricks sound quite familiar. The phone in the book trick is something I will have to keep my eye out for!

  8. You do have your finger on the pulse of a middle schooler! My 11yr old grandson is the new owner of an IPod , I’ll alert my daughter to holes in the hoodies. I also loved learning about your mom, and your sweet relationshipShe’s beautiful; like mother , like daughter!

    • Thank you so much for you wonderful comment. I’m sure your grandson would never try any of these tricks!! Personally, I wish that parents would just have their kids leave their electronics at home. It is just too tempting to use them. Happy Mother’s Day to you. 🙂

  9. Don’t forget the “hey Mom, I’ll go get the mail, no problem” when it’s time for deficiencies… They know exactly what day they’ll end up in the mailbox… of course I don’t speak from personal experience… it was my friend’s kid (lol). I home-schooled my oldest through 7th and 8th grade (not for religious reasons btw). We were able to bypass most of the excuses etc because he wasn’t bored or wanting to be somewhere else. We did our work and then he could do what he wanted … which was go to his Dad’s work at the university and build sets and act in plays. It’s pretty amazing what children can do when they do what comes naturally (he now has an MFA in film from Columbia and works in an educational software marketing department). Now as for my youngest, I’m sure he knew every single one of the tricks you mention above… there was no way I was homeschooling him! 🙂 (the boys are 12 years apart in age, the youngest is now 20).

    • Ahhh yes, the mailbox trick. I do need to add that one, or maybe I’ll just write a post on tricks your middle schooler is playing on you! They love bragging to me about this!! Regarding the mailing of intermission and report cards, certain kids always DO ask me again and again when they are being mailed. To save money, our school handed them out for a while directly to the kids. Obviously that was a fail!

      Columbia!!! I’m impressed. Good for your son- I know just how hard it is to break into the Ivy Leagues. The competition is fierce with so many qualified candidates.

      The campus there is beautiful and the surrounding area is a lot of fun. I took 18 students on a journalism field trip this spring and we all loved our three days on campus.

      One of my daughters is a student at Brown. Columbia said no thanks! Brown is a perfect fit for her and she couldn’t be happier. She applied to almost all of the Ivies and MIT to cover her bases and was fortunate enough to get to choose between MIT and Brown. She’s now a socialist. 🙂

  10. Pingback: miki’s whistlestop blog tour – from australia to the us, through s’pore and the uk | jump into the fog

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