In middle school we have the sixth grade which is new and marvelous and the kids are, for the most part, still kind of sweet and want to please you.
In seventh grade they're, well, lumps that often get into trouble and have no idea why they do what they do. When you ask a seventh grader, especially a boy, "What were you thinking?" and the seventh grader replies, "I don't know," they aren't kidding. They Honestly Don't Know.
In eighth grade, they've matured over the summer and are starting to turn into young adults and you can have a half way pleasant conversation with them.
So, when it comes to faculty meetings and events where teachers from all three grade levels are present, most of the sixth and eighth grade teachers look at those of us who teach seventh grade as a bunch of whiners who are, most likely, nuts. If you have never taught seventh grade, and many people go through their entire career never having the pleasure, you just don't get it.
However, this year's eighth grade teachers are starting to feel our pain.
We sent them an interesting crop of kids. A real doozy of a bunch. Kids who have no sense of humor, no self-control, no common sense. And we warned them. And they said, "Sure, they can't be that bad, can they? After all, they'll mature over the summer and be just fine."
Except this bunch, for whatever reason, did not mature over the summer. At all. And if it is possible, got even worse.
And our eighth grade teachers are now running down to our end of the hallway screaming, "Good Lord, how did you deal with these kids! They're horrible! They're a nightmare! They won't work, they wont behave, they talk back! What's the secret to surviving this bunch?"
And we just smile. Prayer baby. Prayer.