Magazine article AMLE Magazine

PG-13 and Then Some!

Magazine article AMLE Magazine

PG-13 and Then Some!

Article excerpt

As a middle level educator (since prehistoric times), I am sometimes immune to the many behaviors, antics, and attitudes of early adolescents-those behaviors often interpreted by others as inappropriate, disrespectful, and unsuitable for public consumption. Imagine that!

So after a recent outing to the local multiplex, where I witnessed an example of a young adolescent presenting a less-thanhis-best image to unsuspecting moviegoers, I realized my own reaction to such behavior needed to be refined as well.

An Afternoon at the Movies

It was a typical Friday afternoon. Two colleagues and I decided to jump-start our weekend by watching the latest romantic comedy at the early-bird showing before heading home after a long week of educating the malleable minds of middle school students.

About 10 minutes before the show was to start, the audience was filing in with snacks in hand. The crowd was not large, but it was diverse: some pre-teens and teenagers, elderly couples, an assortment of families, along with the three of us seasoned, reputable educators relaxing in the wings.

Movie trivia flashed on the screen with elevator-type music echoing through the air; quiet chatter flowed up and down the aisles, and squeaky seats adjusted to accommodate patrons who were settling in.

And then the knocking began: quiet taps, at first, followed by loud bangs. It wasn't hard to figure out that someone on the outside was trying to get the attention of an insider by rapping on the emergency door.

As if on cue, a baseball-capped head popped up and a young man darted toward one of the emergency doors. The audience of about three dozen theater goers watched as the young man opened the emergency door, inviting in bright sunshine and two of his buddies.

An elderly gentlemen near the front shared his disapproval: "Young man, your friends need to pay to watch the movie, too."

A murmur of agreement came from other theater guests, and we added our own teacher nods of agreement from the nosebleed section of the auditorium.

Behavior Issues

Now this next part, I have to admit, was not one of my most stellar moments as an educator and was completely involuntary in the heat of the moment.

I've taught middle school for nearly three decades and have heard every rant, obscenity, and expletive imaginable. I've counseled traumatized parents after they chaperoned a middle school dance for the first time. And I could easily compose a translation manual for the American Middle Level Sign Language Association-a language developed and mastered by any 12-year-old on the planet. …

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