Middle School teachers everywhere can tell you about the mess that comes along with the dating lives of their students. For many, having a boyfriend/girlfriend during these years is little more than a title and someone to text every night. For others, though, the behavior is much more... mature. And those relationships tend to accompany quite a bit of drama.
My favorite example happened this past August between one of our favorite on-again, off-again couples in the middle of my instruction. I was mid-sentence when I heard raised voices from the back of the classroom. To be honest, it happened so quickly that all I heard was:
B****, it ain't my fault you had two n***** up in your p**** in one month!
Well, it ain't my fault you can't handle yours!
While this outburst definitely takes the cake for Most Inappropriate, it is far from the only relationship drama I encounter. The flirting, break ups, make ups... I could fill the pages of novels with their stories.
Pamela Orpinas, head of the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior at UGA, recently released the results of her seven-year study of adolescent relationships, which suggest that middle school students should refrain from dating.
Her research reveals that teens who date "are four times more likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to drink and smoke marijuana, and tend to have worse teacher-reported study habits." It seems as though the earlier a child starts to date, the earlier he or she tends to partake in other risky behaviors. And with all of the emphasis on these... extra-curricular... activities, there seems to be less of a focus on academics.
I can't wait to share this with my students! I'm sure they're going to have plenty to say in rebuttal!