By Gbemisola Johnson
AmeriCorps member serving on the Comcast | NBC4 team at Johnson Middle School

   Kids will be kids, and that is a true statement. I have been tested, I have felt disrespected, and I have even found myself frustrated at times while managing my students’ behavior, but it’s important to remember not only that they are children, but that they are the future!

   I proudly serve at Johnson Middle School and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Johnson has some of the most down-to-earth staff, students and community members. Working in a middle school, I often get the question “how do you handle all of those hormones!?” I definitely don’t think it is as bad as people make it out to be, but there are still some challenges with behavior.

   Weekly check-ins with students on our behavior focus list help monitor behavior issues. By talking with students about their personal goals, I have given them the tools to work on the challenges they face. By developing strong relationships with my kids I am able to de-escalate many altercations before they reach the physical level. However, our students still fight from time to time. I have learned to not try to break up fights, I try to use words to get the two parties to back away from each other and if that does not work I simply get security or an administrator to handle the situation.

   Despite the occasional setback, at the end of the day I have never been more consistently entertained each day like I have been at Johnson Middle School. The students are each unique characters, and their charm is undeniable. They are very intelligent scholars who have strong personalities. They can be sweet, they can be rude, they can be soft-spoken, and sometimes foul-mouthed. They are 7th graders, so you must take things day-by-day. They make me laugh, and they make me smile. They are open and honest-hearted, but they are also quick to pull a fast one on you.

   These students are growing and developing through a critical point in their lives, and I am blessed to be a part of that growth. I try to handle behavior at Johnson the best way I know how. I speak to them and educate them at all times, and remind them that they ultimately have to make the right decisions for themselves. 

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