Middle School Faux Pas

Middle School was introduced to our province twenty years ago. The biggest structural change saw the grade 9’s move up to the high school, and grade 6’s moved up to middle school. Some schools embraced the change and worked hard at implementing the associated philosophy. Others simply became grade 6,7,8 junior high schools.

One of the cornerstones of the middle school approach is interdisciplinary teaching. This sees a unit being taught across different curricular disciplines; for example, the teachers of science, art, social studies and language arts might all agree to work together on an interdisciplinary unit (IDU) on forests.

At the time, I was teaching in a regional school serving grades 6-12. I was on the top floor teaching high school sciences and math. The middle school was on the ground floor. Although I had little to do with the younger grades I was impressed with how hard my middle school colleagues were working to make the new programs successful.

A Home-and-School meeting was coming up and the parents requested a verbal report on how well the middle school was proceeding. The team leader, a good buddy of mine, agreed to write a report but knew he would be quite late arriving at the meeting if he was able to make it at all. One of the administrators, also male, agreed to present the report on his behalf.

So my buddy wrote the report knowing that a colleague would be reading it. He decided to add a bit of jocularity. The report contained the following sentence: The middle school teachers recently started a new interdisciplinary unit or IDU (that’s not to be confused with an IUD, Ha!). Of course, it was not his intention to have this line read but you guessed it, the fellow who was making the report read it word for word.

My buddy made it to the meeting just before it ended. The only male in the room was the administrator. When my friend entered the room the women broke out in fits of laughter. He thought to himself, Oh no, please tell me he didn’t read that line.

When the meeting ended the fellow who read the report approached my buddy and said, “Hey, what the (frig) is an IUD anyway?”

I guess this falls under the category of lifelong learning.

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