Former 6th grade teacher here. I was there to witness one of my kids take his first big leap: at lunch, he asked the girl he had a crush on “will you go on a date with me?” She smiled and said yes. Immediately, the boy on the other side of her said, “Don’t go out with this fucker, go out with me!” She smiled AND SAID OK.
Middle school is tough, man.
I teach preschool. It is very easy…they usually just say, you are so pretty, I like you.
Today one of my kids complimented a girl that he has a (kid) “crush” on and told her how pretty she was in front of the whole class. Next, all the girls and the class were asking him if they were pretty too. He handled it like a champ and told them, “Of course, you are all beautiful.”
This is one of my most treasured memories as a teacher:
I was a student teacher, so I was not prepared for this. I asked my students to write and share their own poetry. We focused on sensory imagery, and I had the presentations staged at the local university for a bit more gravitas. Some were funny, some were surprisingly beautiful, but most were banal, and the exercise was mostly boring.
This one girl got up in front of the class visibly shaking. She was near tears for her entire poem. I wanted to help her, but I had no idea what to do, so I just watched like everyone else as she poured her heart out to a boy in the class who did not reciprocate. When she finished, there was a silence in the room, and after a few seconds which seemed to stretch out forever, one of her friends stood up and ushered her out of class as the tears began to flow.
Nobody made fun of her, but the boy also didn’t show that he felt the same. It was just out there with no commentary.
It is to this day one of the bravest acts I have ever witnessed.