Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mean Girls

Thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday (you were right, the anticipation/fear was worse than actually being fifty).

I really enjoy blogging about my trips; it's a way to share but it's also a really nice way for me to reflect upon what I'm doing. I like that I can slow it down long enough to record it so everything doesn't slip away, like our days do. Although my digital camera skills are at the beginner level, I love photographing so many moments. If I didn't blog, so many of those photos would just sit on my hard drive, unexamined.

Speaking of examining things, I had a tough day yesterday with a few "mean girls" in my class. You remember mean girls from junior high, don't you? Well let me tell you, I do. There were a few girls when I was in eighth grade that would make life miserable for their victim of the week. Now that I teach eighth grade, I get to deal with them all over again. There are four such girls in one of my classes right now that have chosen me the past week or so to focus on. It's very hard to address because they are right on the edge of disrespect without overtly crossing over it. The worst thing is that if I'm not careful, I stoop to their level when I respond to them, which is never a good thing. And yesterday was really ugly. So this morning on my way to work I was thinking about the situation and it occurred to me that I spend more time with at least one of these girls than her mother does. And that some, if not all, of her behavior is about her rebelling against a surrogate mother, who just happens to be me. Identifying it doesn't make the problem go away, but it does help, if only just a little.


  1. Understanding a problem is the first step in a solution, I think. Not that there is a solution to the 'mean girl' scene.
    I remember dreading them when I taught junior high school. Even when they said nothing, I knew they were thinking. I probably gave them way too much space in my mind. But, when you aren't that much older than them, those girls can be intimidating.
    Now aren't you glad you had that birthday?

  2. Mean girls suck, Rose. I hated that about middle school.

    I hope today is a better day for you.

    Silence is a fearful thing that I always found completely effective. Don't let them get a rise out of you.

  3. Oh, Rose. Thank goodness you have your lovely beachside home to escape to. Plus you just reminded me why I always enjoyed teaching preschool!

  4. That sucks, Rose. I have a seventh grade daughter who is having to deal with mean girls for the first time this year. I'm realizing, too, that they make me feel the same way now as they did when I was the one in seventh grade. Stay strong!

  5. Jenn, I'm sorry your daughter is dealing with them. My oldest had a tough time with them too, now that you mention your daughter. At least at my age and position of authority, they can only cause minimal damage. Mean girls can be devasting to their peers. And they're so sneaky. Karma's a bitch though.