Hallway Talking or Why Middle Schoolers Act Like We’re Three

Middle School Conversation
Kid 1: So then I was like, ohhhh my gawd, is she talking to me!
Kid 2: What a freak.
Kid 1: I know, she’s soooo annoying. The worst part of it all is that I have to be in the class with her! She’s my stupid research partner!
Kid 2: Oh sorry, I’ve got the smartest person in the grade.
Kid 1: Your soooooo lucky.
Kid 2: I know. Smiles*

Walks Into Classroom
Teacher: Good Morning Class, get into your partners for our research project. I know everyone here is mature and kind so I know there will not be any problems. Right Class?

Class: Yes. ( I wish!)

We’re middle schoolers and yet we are acting like we’re three. Although the above dialogue is a totally fictional scene, it’s based on the hard cold truth. Even though most people don’t mean to sound as mean when they are talking about someone, it’s still mean. You may not like the person you’re stuck doing a project with, but that’s just it; you are stuck with them, and it won’t make things easier to work with them if you are telling everyone around you about how much you dislike them.

I made a definition of what I call “Hallway Talking”. Hallway talking: Having a totally different negative persona and/or attitude from the inside of a learning institution. Usually shown by gossiping. See: Bullying.

Although most of time you don’t have your first choice of a partner, being scowled at when you walk into the classroom isn’t the greatest feeling. Believe it or not, no matter how much of a robot the other person is and even if you feel they aren’t capable of having feelings, they do, and those feelings can be seriously hurt.

I’m not saying to jump around the classroom ecstatic saying, “I didn’t get my first choice, yay!” Instead be hopeful, because your attitude about your classmate is going to affect your work, BIG TIME. If you’re so focused on hating your partner, who’s doing your share of the work? Not you, so it must be your partner, and the feeling of dislike for one another will be mutual.

One day it very well might be you that become the subject of “Hallway Talking”. Remember this. It seems to me that many first graders have this rule down more than we do: Treat others the way you want to be treated. So simple, and yet it seems like the older we get, the harder it is to follow some basic principles.

Photo by Chloe Smith-Frank

Thanks to (L-R) Seve Reitano ’19, Raia Stern ’19 and Marlie Golden ’19 for modeling during their free time