It’s my 15th year of teaching. Since the end of August I’ve been working with my new class — ages 13 and 14, remember (their minds blown by the magic and mayhem of middle school) and it’s been a lovely year so far.

But they are middle schoolers- that delightful mix of adult and child, villain and hero — both all at once, and neither, exactly. Alas, hilarity has ensued, as it does.

And it’s a good thing, too, because there are four days until holiday break and I’m holding fast to all my lines drawn in the sand.

“Mrs Hamlin, can I go the bathroom?”


Middle school remains the craziest, kookiest, most tacos-with-your morning-coffee place.  But I’m saying: thank GOD. It’s keeping me on the edge of my seat, which is, therefore, keeping my mind off other stuff.

Here are three conversations that occurred recently in good ol’ room 68. I’m sorry there are only three because there are so many more and yet if I don’t write them down, they don’t stick in my brain. They are, however, gold, frankincense and myrrh — from me to you. Enjoy.

Student: “Mrs Hamlin do you know where you live?”

Me: (with a slight squint, because you never know if the question is real) Yes. I do know where I live. 

Student: That’s a good thing.

Me: (nodding slowly) It is.

Student, who never looks up from writing, says: In case you want to go home. Like, ever.

Me: (eyes wide) Right. Just in case. 

No one else even looks up from what they’re doing…


Student: “Mrs. Hamlin do I have to write five paragraphs for this five paragraph essay?”

Me: blank stare

Student: “Just wondering if you’re serious about that.”



Student: “Holy, Jesus.”

Me: Unless you’re praying, I don’t want to hear that language in here.

Student: “Totally praying! See?” (Starts doing a bizarre version of some choreographed dance, then singing, like Flo Rida) “Welcome to god’s house. Jesus take control now. You don’t need to bow down. You just have to go all out!”

Other student side-eyeing me, then says: “Let us pray.”

Yes. Yes. Very churchy this guy. Amen.


So there you have it. Life in the 8th grade with never a dull moment. Welcome to my house. And Happy Holidays, ya’ll.