Tag Archives: Middle School

“Jaw With John” – Typical Teens, Can’t Control Their Volume

My husband and I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son. We both work full time. We are generally happy for the kids to have their friends at our house. We have a finished basement with a 70-inch TV — the largest in the house. The basement is carpeted and has a couch, chairs and a foosball table.

One problem: When our daughter has her friends over, they are SO LOUD.

It is fine when they are in the basement. When they are in the kitchen and we are in the den (next to each other), we have a volume battle. She gets peeved with us because we ask her to ask them to lower their volume.

She shushes her friends and they in turn get peeved with her, saying they can’t make any noise in our house. True passive-aggressive teenage behavior.

This, of course, means her friends don’t want to come to our home because they can’t “be themselves.” We do not think it is too much to ask that they hold down the volume. She suggests we watch TV in our bedroom. Are we alone in thinking this is crazy? Why should we be expected to stay in our room while our daughter entertains her friends? — *A House Divided By Noise

Dear House:

These girls just want attention. They congregate in the kitchen because they want to be heard. It’s a classic teenager move. They are also just that – teenagers – so naturally, they are going to be loud. If I had a nickel for every time a girl in my middle school got loud when talking to another girl, I’d have a shit load of nickels. (I don’t have a good frame of reference on High School behavior since I went to an all guys school.)

You shouldn’t be expected to stay in your room in your house while they are there. You are opening up your house to her friends and they should behave themselves accordingly. The next time they get loud in the kitchen, ask that the girls take their gathering into the basement where they can be as loud as they want. From what it sounds like, they couldn’t care less about the foosball table.

You sound disappointed that her friends might not want to hang out at your house.¬†Given all the drama and baggage teenage girls carry, I don’t understand why. If they can’t behave themselves and follow your rules then they won’t hang out there and you’ll have a quiet house.

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“Jaw With John” – No Need To Stand & Deliver, Teach

I am an inner-city high school teacher. The high poverty rate makes the job very challenging and stressful. We are all working long hours.

This year I am dealing with a colleague in her early 40s, single, who readily admits her life outside of work is dull. She has half the number of students I do.

For Christmas she gave all her students a small gift bag with treats. She has nicknames for all of them. She has driven them to practice when they missed the bus. She feeds them breakfast and gives them snacks for having a good day in class.

When speaking with a parent, it is always positive — even if the student is failing multiple classes or has disruptive behavior.

The students love her and call her “Mom.”

Students have asked why I don’t buy or give them things. These are 14-year-olds. Even though I recognize their developmental stage, it is difficult now to enjoy my work when I am always being compared to “Mom.”

How should I deal with this? — Stressed Teacher

Dear Stressed:

At my Primary School each grade up until Middle School was split in two. There would be 20 or so kids per teacher. In 4th grade I was put into a classroom with a no nonsense teacher, Mrs. Wilson, who taught us well but at times lacked that sweetness. She was tough but fair. Next door was a teacher who was all sunshine and rainbows. She would play her piano and we could hear the class singing through the walls. Every time this would happen I would roll my eyes because I found it unnecessary (clearly, I had established my sarcastic, smart-ass attitude early on). I mean, how many times can you play Heart & Soul before it’s too much?

I always wondered what Mrs. Wilson thought of the teacher next door. If she wanted that adoration those students showed her. Or if she even liked the other teacher enough to care what she did. I like to think that we were on the same page and rolled our eyes simultaneously. She didn’t care for the other teacher’s teaching style/attitude because she knew how to get through to us and teach us what we needed to know without overstepping the boundaries.

You need to do the same.

Be the teacher you are and don’t concern yourself with what “Mom” is doing.

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“Jaw With John” – Void The Check, Not The Friend

I have a friend whose daughter and mine were classmates in intermediate and middle school. Although our daughters moved on to different high schools, we remained close friends. Our daughters graduated the same year but three weeks apart.

She sent my daughter a graduation gift, a check for $100. I reciprocated with a check of the same amount to her daughter when she graduated.

Weeks later, we went out to lunch with two other friends. After lunch, she tried to return the check I gave to her daughter. I politely said, “No,” adding that it was for her daughter — just an even exchange of gifts.

A month later, I noticed she still had not deposited my check.

I sent her an email reminding her to do so and that I hoped she had not lost the check. I did not get a response. It’s been almost seven months but she has not deposited the check.

Our other friends told me to let it go.

I am really confused about this. There was no argument — in fact, I gave her birthday and Christmas gifts months later, which she accepted and thanked me for. What should I do? — Bewildered Friend

Dear Bewildered:

After some period of time don’t checks become void if they haven’t been cashed? I know very little about nuances of finance, but I think this check is kaput.

For some reason, she doesn’t want your money. Yet she is perfectly OK with giving you HER money. It’s very confusing and may be an issue of pride. You have tried your best to see why she won’t accept and she has repeatedly tried to return the check to you. I think it might be time to throw in the towel and void the check yourself.

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“Jaw With John” – Son Has Something Brown On His Nose

Before winter break, my 12-year-old son wanted to do something nice for his teachers during the “time of giving,” and he baked cookies that he made from scratch (sweet!). He created decorative bags, handmade name tags and had them placed in his teachers’ mailbox area.

I was amazed that only one out of the eight wrote him a thank-you note. I have taught my children that receipt of a gift from someone always deserves a handwritten thank-you. It takes but four sentences, can be written in six minutes (or less) and speaks volumes of appreciation for someone’s thoughtfulness, time and generosity.

He was touched by the one teacher’s kindness. This incident made me notice that we are becoming a very wanting but truly thankless society, and I find it sad. I was assuming teachers would set a better example. Am I old-fashioned? — Thankful

Dear Thankful:

Two words come to mind when I read this: Brown Nose. Is it nice and thoughtful? You bet your sweet ass it is. But it also comes off as someone who is being overly nice to his teachers and trying to gain favor. That’s how I would view it as if I were in his grade. Hell, it’s how I view it as an adult!

Maybe one of the teachers is allergic to one of the ingredients in the cookie. Or didn’t know what was in it and decided to not take the chance. Maybe they are gluten intolerant, and not the fake kind where they are “just trying it out to see how [their] body feels”. There are numerous external factors here that could contribute to them not writing back. But it all comes back to your son trying too hard to be nice and coming off looking like a Teacher’s Pet.

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