The bright red bell rings and a flood of kids rush into the hallway. It is a circus in there: shoving, yelling and kids running through the halls trying to push by others to get to their next class. Groups form in the halls trying to capture precious minutes between classes to talk to their friends. Is that how you picture Germantown Friends School?
When I think of GFS I think of the friends trying to meet in the hall, but the number of kids is smaller. A trickle of kids oozes out of the math room, yelling an inside joke to a friend waiting outside the door. The groups are much more vague but still apparent. Are they different? Yeah, I think so.
I have never been to this place I described with the big red bell and the crowded hallways, but so many middle schools in books and movies are portrayed like this. Just think of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Mother Daughter Book Club, Harriet the Spy, Smile, High School Musical (I know we’re not in high school and we don’t dance on tables but it works) and so many more. The differences between a “cliche” middle school and our every day lives are pretty big.
I love how it labels every group as a stereotype. There are the punks, the girly girls, the preps and the class clowns. I think that a lot of books and movies talk about the idea of “I’m not in their group so I shouldn’t sit with them.” Most of the time it shows the tiny new kid with a lunch tray looking around the cafeteria not knowing where to sit. None of us can claim that we’ve never been in that position at some time in our life, yet I think that the way it is shown is way too extreme compared to the every day.
Workload and homework have the biggest impact on everything I have said so far. The reason I say this is because school takes up so much of our time. (No one can argue with that.) The groups that people tend to join often depend how they spend their time. Everyone likes to argue that they get the most homework. Or that they did it the quickest. Or that they spent half the night studying for that test. Depending on the book/movie I think the homework level is either shown as too high or too low. The fact that the characters have time for half the things they do makes no sense, but it makes the story interesting.
You are probably wondering so why the heck did you write this article?! I wanted to point out something that I have noticed for a really long time. I have observed a lack of reality between what we read or watch and what we experience. As much as we wish that we go to Hogwarts, we don’t. But we also don’t go to these schools that are so depressingly portrayed as an unescapable prison. So my opinion is that our future writers need to find some truth in middle school. That looking on the bright side might just make everything seem a little better.