The body is going through the biggest period of development and change next to infancy. The transition from elementary school to high school is short and intense. And to be frank, kids can be mean.
I recently watched an episode of Dateline discussing middle school and high school students who were seeking out plastic surgery due to extreme bullying by their peers. It saddened me so deeply that I couldn't help but discuss it with my students. I tried to emphasize how temporary this stage of life is, even when it seems unending. After the discussion, I began to visualize a way of actually showing them how different life can be in a matter of years.
So, thanks to the Lakeview Middle School faculty and staff, we now have a #ItGetsBetter bulletin board in my hallway. It includes horribly awkward school pictures of many of my students' favorite teachers. Scattered among them are pictures of current celebrities when their lives were less-than-glamorous. Phrases such as "Life goes on" and "People change" give poignant reminders to their readers.
It immediately garnered lots of attention as students tried to predict which photo belonged to which adult. Teachers also enjoyed sharing horror stories as they reminisced of their younger years. It was a lot of fun to put together and I think it did forge somewhat of a bond between teachers and students as they realized we were all once in their shoes.