Tag Archives: substitute teaching

sex and the middle school student

5 Dec

Sex and the Middle School Student
The good news: chances are your kids aren’t having sex. The not so good news is they are using sex like a roomful of monkeys with a typewriter. Pubescent girls are growing into their bodies unencumbered by the standards of the long ago past. Corrupted by fashion, encouraged by music and the media, and ignored by parents either ignorant or apathetic to the implications, little girls are being taught lessons on how to allow themselves to be exploited. They are reaping the immediate benefits of male attention, and are too young to think about the long term consequences on their adult psyche. And the males are having to do a lot less work than they did even one generation ago.
Make-up, jewelry, clothing, music videos, movies, internet; everyone is their own little superstar, and academics have taken sidebar status. When the second bell rings the clusters form and the females pull out their mirrors, try on each other’s jackets, compare shoes and admire each others’ lipstick or eyeliner. And the boys cluster off to play on their notepads or cell phones, spin basketballs and trade rhymes, all the while keeping both eyes on the clusters of girls.
At one point during an eighth grade literacy class that was supposed to be doing vocabulary sentences I was making my rounds to the back of the class where a female cluster was having a heated, but muted discussion. As I approached, one of the girls boldly asked me: “Right, Mr. Vok, you can get STD’s from a blow job?” I stopped for a second, appalled at first by the question, and then flattered that she thought I could be trusted with such a query. “That’s right,” I told her sternly, “so you should not be giving them.” She turned back to the group and said righteously’ “See, I told you!” I kept walking, not even wanting to get caught in the mine-field of that conversation. (I did report that one to a female colleague, who followed up with a conversation with the girl and her parent.)
There was another time near the end of the year that the classroom was practically empty; a hot June afternoon and the last period of the day. There, seated in the back of the room, with his chair leaning casually against the wall, was Eric. He was old for eighth grade, probably 15 or so and idly thumbing through one of the scholastic magazines he found on the table. He had been kept back from graduating into high school twice already, and would probably be sent through this time. There were only two or three days left of the year; all the work had been done, all the tests passed or failed, all the homework handed in or not. I knew by the rustle of early escapees out in the hall that the bell was about to ring. I motioned to him. “Eric,” I said. He got up and came towards me. “Eric, let me ask you something. The year is almost over. You haven’t done any work for me or anybody else all year, and it seems like you don’t care about it any way. Why are you still coming to classes?” He gave me a grin and a look I would be hard pressed to duplicate and said, “I come for the bitches.”
Then there was a dynamic little couple, Brenda and Charles. They sat next to each other at the front of the class and were totally devoted to one another. There were rumors that she had cheated on him once, but that was with another girl, so it didn’t count. I admired their loyalty to each other and, while they were not the best students I’ve ever had, they never gave me any problems and stayed away from most of the drama. There was even a time when they were having a fight and I gave him the best advice I could: “That’s your girl, man. You have to stick by her.” It looked like serious marriage plans after high school. They both managed to graduate eighth grade.
I ran into one of my ex-students recently in the parking lot of the neighborhood Starbucks. She gave me the dish on some people; who went to which high school, who had a job where, who was still dating who, etc… (Whenever I run into an ex-student I always like to ask what they are reading – usually it’s one of those Twilight books, but occasionally I get “Catcher in the Rye” or “Lord of the Flies”). She asked me if I remembered Brenda and Charles. I said of course. She told me that Charlie got Brenda pregnant in ninth grade and they got married. So much for high school. But God bless Charlie for sticking by his girl.
Like I said, there is a good chance your kids are not having sex, but that shiny pistol is in their hands; the safety is off and it is a loaded gun. And other than what they see in the movies, they have no idea how to use it and how much damage it can really cause.