in the Interim

Friends, I have to be honest and say that I’ve allowed my sewing jive to slide lately. I’ve been more than a little down about certain things in my life. If I had to lay claim to the biggest offender on that list, I would definitely say that working with middle school students has not been my cup of tea. Thing is, I only work with the “bad” kids. The other day, there was a sweet little volunteer at the school helping out in a spanish class. I was talking to her a little bit and saying that I never really get to know any of the really good kids, because I mostly deal with the bad ones. Then she said, “But they aren’t really bad are they? There’s no such thing as a bad kid.” Sad to say, but in my mind, its a very good thing this sweet young lady doesn’t work at the school.

I think the hardest thing for me, in this middle school situation, is that I feel as if I’ve been transported back to my middle school years. How in the world do kids make it everyday? With the criticism that they get from their peers, its seriously no wonder there are such problems with self-esteem and even suicide. Being an adult, I’m expected to have just “gone through that” and therefore, the insults and rude banter that are slung at me everyday, aren’t supposed to leave a mark. But I’ll tell ya plain, they do. To be frank, this whole thing has sent me into a bit of a depression – a medium-small bit. The bright bit is that school is out in 3 short weeks – though I’ll admit, that seems like an eternity away when I think of some of those rotten kids I have to face everyday.

Over the weekend, I finally got to the point where I feel that I really need to get back on board with those things that make me happy and forget about my school woes. And of course, one thing that makes me really happy is sewing!  Yay! Normally I don’t discuss personal matters here on my blog, but I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind today and bare a little of my soul and what I’ve been feeling lately. Its been a time for me to re-examine what’s really important in my life and though I wouldn’t consider sewing a wardrobe as the most important thing in life, having an outlet for creative ingenuity is. It’s also been a time to remember what some of my goals this year started out as being. I seem to recall something about finishing 3 garments per month (fail!) and I seem to be remembering something about a wrap dress.

Just trying to keep a chin up and a smile on my face. Tell me, what do you do when you get down and out?


  • marihaf - All I can say is hang in there and make sure that each day you do something that brings you joy. Even a simple moment with a cup of tea and a magazine. Just transport yourself away for a few moments and you can get a better perspective on things.

    I wish you peace and joyReplyCancel

  • Sara C. - Keep your head up! Just a few more weeks left! I teach high school at a “bad kids” school. Most of the time I can let things roll off my back, but some days I just come home and curl up in a ball. Kids are down right mean sometimes. I’ve also been derailed with my sewing this year, lots of personal things (school being one of those). I hope to get back into it like you have! Stay strong and when they give you attitude, give it right back! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Casey - Dear Sunni, I feel so bad for you! :/ I know how it is to be in a work situation where you get depressed and it feels it’ll never end, not to mention the climate of the workplace isn’t the best. Sending hugs your way that these last 3 weeks will fly by!

    I know what you mean about loosing a bit of the sewing urge when you get down in the dumps. I too tend to put that aside, forgetting my creativity is my outlet to help me stay sane at times. 😉 lol. Usually when I’m feeling a bit down, I carve out some time to either sew something really easy and brainless (e.g. that doesn’t need loads of fitting and therefore I won’t get in a further funk if it doesn’t go together right!), or sit down with a glass of wine and a favorite movie. 🙂 Sometimes I need to *do*, the other times I need to just be visually inspired to help chase away the blues…ReplyCancel

  • Graca - Sunni, I’m sorry to read that you’re feeling blue lately. I also work at a school and yes, there are some heartbreaking moments that I witness everyday, but there are always moments from unexpected peeps and places that make me smile and I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to witness these young people mature and turn into wonderful human beings. People do change, that is fact. Hang in there. I wish you your sewing mojo back soon and a great workday. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Gem - Keep reminding yourself that there are only a few weeks left! As marihaf said, make sure to do something enjoyable everyday, even if just for a few minutes. Think of some positive aspects of your job, keep reminding yourself of them. I find that my creativity is at an all time low when I’m unhappy. Rather than thinking of a finished dress as an end goal, take it a few steps at a time and think of each step as an accomplishment. Hope things look up soon!ReplyCancel

  • Elle C - I think teachers are amazing. I truly cannot imagine doing what you do everyday.

    This is a bit simplistic, but to relieve stress I have recently started swimming, maybe not all out swimming, but floating and exercising in the water. Wound up and stressed out used to be my default setting, and since I began going to the pool, stressed out isn’t normal anymore. The work I do is no where nearly as stressful as what you do, and I haven’t been following your blog long, so I don’t know if you exercise, but if you don’t, give it a try. It may help.

    Three weeks, 15 work days. Hang in there.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - My sister taught middle school science in TFA for two years, and came home and cried every night. It’s HARD. I have much admiration for you and others who do it. You’re almost there!ReplyCancel

  • Suze - Middle school teachers are a breed apart and you have my deepest respect (and when I was a middle school parent, you had my gratitude, too.) And yes, I find that doing something pleasurable – sewing, in particular, because it occupies my mind as well as my hands – gives me a necessary break and a little lift in the midst of those tough places. Hang in there; I know you can do this.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn B - Just keep your chin up. Teenagers can be harsh and can send you home frequently in a funk (after five years teaching I still haven’t figured out how to completely let it go.) Just be sure to take time for yourself when your not dealing with the students. Pick something that makes you feel good and make room for it in your spare time. It’ll help. And don’t beat yourself up right now if your sewing mojo is low. It’ll just make you feel more guilty and less likely to want to sew creating a horrible negative feedback loop:( Best of Luck with your struggles.ReplyCancel

  • Dottie Doodle - I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time. A couple of years ago, when I had some challenging issues to face and they were just going round and round in my head, I started exercising every day. It saved my sanity then and I’ve kept to it – even just a walk will help. I hope things get better soon. xxReplyCancel

  • Yvette (Sew 2day Wear 2moro) - I cant begin to imagine what you are going through but you must be a very strong person to deal with what you have to on a daily basis and get this far. I know its no consolation but it will make you stronger in the long run. Sew until your heart is content and as you say 3 weeks till school is out. Chin up. xxReplyCancel

  • Meli - This is a little rough, since you’ll only get a new batch of brats in the fall. Middle schoolers do suck. I guess the best thing you can do is hope that in a few years they’ll be mature enough to be embarrassed for the things that they’re doing now. I would recommend drinking something hot and curling up with a good book, or calling up a friend that you don’t want to strangle! Summer’s almost here. You can do it!!ReplyCancel

  • puu - i think you say it perfectly when you say that sewing a wardrobe isn’t “important” in itself, but the process of doing it, of having an outlet, of having something that makes you excited and gives you pleasure and lets you exercise skills, that is what we look for–or at least i do!!–when i am concentrating on sewing. do your best, keep with it, the school year will end, and focus on the small things that bring you pleasure in the interim.ReplyCancel

  • Vicki Kate - Just wanted to send you a hug. You seem to need one. I’m more than happy to listen if you need to vent. I hope you get some time to forget the working world and find a little more equilibrium. Take care sweetie xReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Oh, I totally understand and can relate to your malaise. I have been trying to recover from an emotional setback too. I try to have several outlets for pulling me out of a depression. Right now it’s listening to music (Depeche Mode in particular) 😉 Sometimes it’s reading. And a lot of times, it’s sewing. Creating is the key weapon against the black hole of depression. I hope your three weeks passes quickly and as painlessly as possible.

    And is it just me? Or are kids really more cruel these days. They really do seem more cruel than I remember them to be in my youth.ReplyCancel

  • Janice - Living with my sister when she was going through a tough middle-school teaching period (18-year old 7th graders, students throwing chairs, mean-spirited administrators, etc.), I can only imagine what you’re going through. It’s tough to stay optimistic about making progress in education, when you see teaching horror stories come to life. As a non-teacher, I thank you for the hard work you put in to make a difference!ReplyCancel

  • agirlinwinter - I really feel for you. I’m not a teacher, but at certain times of the year the majority of my working week involves teaching sessions and I hate it. If you’ve never taught, you don’t realise much it can sap your energy and it’s worse if the kids are apathetic or downright mean. Ironically, I find I cut out the things I do outside work which give me pleasure at those times, because I’m so tired. Do you have any ‘easy’ projects you could work on, which don’t require too much thought? Otherwise, try to do something kind for yourself everyday – even as small as watching a favourite programme on TV, taking a bath or reading a magazine. The three weeks will soon pass (even though it doesn’t feel like it) and in the meantime, be gentle with yourself (as one of my tutors used to say).ReplyCancel

  • zilredloh - Awwww, I feel really bad for you. But you can do it!!!! You’ve gotten this far with the stinky bad kids, you just have a little longer.

    Perhaps you can start planning a fun vacation for you and your man right after school lets out to have some immediate down time and to have something more to look forward to. Kinda like your treat for persevering. 🙂

    Honestly when I feel depressed, crying helps. As soon as I have that release, I can get back on track to move forward again. Good luck!!!ReplyCancel

  • Brianna - Sunni, I know exactly how you feel. My first year teaching, I taught ninth grade writing in Chicago. It was awful – the kids were so badly behaved, and there was no support from the administration or disciplinarians to have any real consequences for acting horribly. I seriously questioned why I had wanted to be a teacher and wanted to give up almost every day. You’re not alone, and it does get better.

    Sewing definitely helped keep me grounded – I tried to either sew or do something fun every weekend. Give yourself Fridays (after school) and Saturdays to relax and not think about school (try not to talk about it at all!), and relish the little successes – one day that went better than the others, that one student who did something well that day, or understood what was taught. Whatever you do, don’t get down on yourself or think you’re a failure for not being better at it. And remember, these kids are acting this way for a reason. Chances are, they have a lot of pain and hurt in their lives that have made them into the jerks they are now. There are good people in there, somewhere, and you’re being a positive example for them by being in their lives and sticking with them. You are making a difference, they just don’t know it yet!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - I think we’ve all been there at one time or another- just too sad or stressed to do what we love to do. I also work in a profession that most people would call “rewarding” but it often does not feel that way. The people I serve often do not appreciate what we do or are just plain mean or rude despite how hard you are working for them. Try to find a way to get recharged so you can get back to what you enjoy doing.ReplyCancel

  • J - When I’m feeling down, I usually watch a movie. Or sleep. Or go shopping. None of these is very productive, but they do make me feel better. If a bit poorer in the case of shopping. But everyone’s different so find the things that do that for you! You are a star- I can’t imagine teaching middle school. And on top of that trying to keep something like this here blog going. Hang in there and plan on having the best summer break ever 🙂ReplyCancel

  • K-Line - Sunni: I feel your pain! Sometimes we find ourselves in such suboptimal positions. It’s almost impossible, in the midst of it, to see how things will ever improve. All I can say is that they will. I don’t know how or when but these things change. I have definitely felt depressed by life circumstances, most specifically, I had years of depression when my child was a baby and young girl. Everything seemed so hard and pointless. I’ve also had moments of career disappointment that were very challenging to accept. I only hope that you can find a bit of your wonderful creativity to sustain you through this time. Giving you lots of good vibes. xoReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ugh, so sorry to hear about this! I did some long-term substitute teaching in my early 20’s when I was thinking about becoming a teacher, and holy crap, did I hate it! I didn’t realize that school would be just as boring and annoying as a teacher as it was for me when I was a student! My hat’s off to you for doing such a tough job– you’re almost done! My sister is a teacher at a terrible school in Baltimore, and I’ve been cheerleading for her, too– you guys are almost done!

    When I’m in a rough job situation, my tendency is to stay up late working on stuff that I enjoy (or even just watching trash TV) so I feel like I have more going on in my day than just going to work. But really, if I was you, I’d make sure that I got enough sleep. The day is long and hard enough without adding fatigue to it. So definitely get the sleep that you need, and schedule little things to look forward to, whether it’s coffee with a dear friend over the weekend or a big vacation over summer break– the time goes by quicker when you have something to look forward to!ReplyCancel

  • CGCouture - Hope you get out of the funk soon, maybe in enough time to enjoy the last little bit of teaching. Are you planning to go back next year, or have you decided that this simply isn’t going to work for you?ReplyCancel

  • oonaballoona - it was important for me to realize that sewing wasn’t just a hobby, it was a thing that kept me sane. and it seemed to bump up my skills when i gave it its worth.

    i did want to say that i hung out with a lot of the “bad” kids in school (i would be the teacher’s aid in that equation)– middle school being most certainly the toughest time for many kids. labels stick and it’s easier for most to embrace the group they’ve been put in and play that role, whether the role is Jock or Slut or Nerd. my role was assumed by many to be Slut, even though i was one of the only virgins at that school (i dressed crazy, go figure, and the popular kids labeled me). fortunately i had fantastic parents, i knew who i was and a label wasn’t going to change me. but not every kid has that security at home. while i don’t want to be all saintly about it, you have the chance to affect their lives, forever. even if it’s just one here and there, even if it’s something as small as letting them know they’re not bad kids.

    like you said, how the hell do kids make it today? maybe with your new outlook on what your creative outlet means to you, you might get more juice to interact with the kids– you might see something different in them.

    and a summer break full of mojitos and french seams won’t hurt 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lizz - Oh, Sunni! I really feel for you. Being dissatisfied at work is extremely draining. And then on top of that you’re being insulted by these brats. I don’t care how old you are – these things do hurt. I think the best thing to do is find something that makes you feel good about yourself (like sewing) to help remind yourself just how great you are. Schedule time for it everyday even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. Perhaps it will help ground you.
    I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that this passes soon!ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - I feel your pain. Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I was a teacher. One semester I had a long-term substitute position and it was so hard with such challenging kids that I came home and cried every single night. The most unbelievable part? They were first-graders! I think other comments have given good advice. It might help to leave work at work if you are engaged in the hobby you love so much at home, and also exercise!ReplyCancel

  • Erin Cumming - I still remember how crazy grades 5 and 6 were. We had a girl in our class get in a verbal altercation with our teacher, then storm out and broke the glass in one of the doors and somehow cut open the side of her abdomen. Grade six girls are the absolute worst, and they are all SO MEAN to each other. What’s my point? You are not alone. Please take your own advice and find some fun in your life-however you can!! THREE MORE WEEKS! THREE MORE WEEKS!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - Ug, Junior High was the worst. My youngest sister is in 8th grade right now and I get antsy hearing about how she didn’t make cheerleader and her world shattered, or how her friends all said they were doing other things, then met at the mall without her. Man, it was tough. Nice how most of us seem to emerge unscathed (for the most part). I wish you selective hearing, long lunch breaks, and a speedy end to the year!

    You can do it!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - ps I love the new blog look!!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Oh, Sunni- such big *hugs* to you right now. I’m going through a similar, unrelated, rough spot and I know it can be so challenging. Get out in the sun, do the things you enjoy, and know that there’s lots of us behind you right now, hoping and praying for the best. *hugs*ReplyCancel

  • Thistle - This is why I’ve lately found that I prefer working with preschoolers. I have had some awful, awful preschoolers—fighters, biters, sulkers, all at once—but even the very worst of them haven’t settled on one identity yet, and they aren’t so dependent on their peers. Every single one of my kids was a good kid at some time or another. Maybe not every day, but often enough that I felt like we were communicating effectively on a regular basis. I’ve spent time with just about every age group, and it’s the middle schoolers that I really can’t stand. They’re too self-conscious to be any fun! But somebody’s got to do it, so good luck with your last few weeks. I hope you encounter a couple more bright spots before you’re done.ReplyCancel

  • Katy - Sorry to hear about this – you’re really brave to talk about this. My cousin was a teacher in the north west and he went through it – he was even locked in a cupboard by the kids once. I hope you get your sewing jive back. I think just get started is the main thing.ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - Oh my dear, I do understand and it stinks. And yes there are bad kids, some are in a phase, but some are just stinkers. I was mired in a horrible job for about 12 years that sucked all the life and spirit out of me. Soon, even having my life threatened didn’t even stir me up! i would respond with caustic remarks, but I needed that job, I made good money, two kids in private school. You do the math. Anyway, sewing, quilting, all needle arts saved me. Really. Now my life is in turmoil after the sudden death of my younger son. If I were not sewing, I would not have survived the last 6 months. So, endure the last three weeks, return to your passion and look for a new job! If you can. You will be in my thoughts because this little mini-crisis is manageble if you face it head on. If you need to talk, we are all here. There is nothing wrong with admitting this difficulty in your life. That is what makes us human. And public sharing among like souls will is more therapeutic than you know.ReplyCancel

  • Claire - I’m sorry the kids are getting you down, but I think it’s important to remember that they are kids and you are the adult. No matter how “rotten” or “bad” they might seem, they are also just children trying to find their way in the world, and as the adult you are the one who should rise above. Also, if you tend to think of them in those terms (rotten, bad), there’s a 99% chance they all know it and feel it from you… and that they respond by making your life a little harder. My husband works in a school, and one thing he’s learned is that kids are very in-tune with power dynamics and weaknesses in the adults around them. And they also don’t hesitate to point out his faults. That might suck, but he also tries to learn from it and adjust. It doesn’t mean you have to let students walk all over you. Instead, I think you have to find balance by seeing that everything which happens between you and each student is forming a relationship, and you have equal control in where that relationship goes.ReplyCancel

  • Gillian - Awwww – I feel your pain! As a supply teacher, it’s always shocking to spend time in a class with a really toxic atmosphere… and try as one might, sometimes it’s just not possible to turn it around in a few days, weeks or months! Hugs, and hope you make it through in one piece!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Thanks for sharing. I hope in getting your feelings out to the world, you’ve found a bit more peace with the unfortunate situation. Make the best of every day in whatever way you can. Work’s been a bit rough for me lately, so I’ve made myself a game out of putting one foot in front of the other. Whenever my boss throws something new on my plate, I take a deep breath and start baby stepping through it. I also think exercise really helps me. A bit of sun and sweat goes a long way towards lifting my mood. Hopefully you can find little things that work for you. You have a world of friends and readers out there rooting for you and wishing they could help distract some of those bad kids so that you can get a bit of a break. All my best.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - This is something I’ve discovered as well: being creative is vital to good mental health! I can tell when it’s been too long between creative pursuits because my spirit starts to flag, and I find myself dragging physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m learning it’s necessary to carve out blocks of time (sometimes only 15-20 minute segments, if that’s all I can fit in) to do something, ANYTHING, creative… whether that’s sewing, quilting, sketching ideas, pulling out fabrics to see what I’m inspired to make, or even heading into the kitchen to try a new recipe. Sometimes it’s just getting online and visiting creative bloggers to see what they’re doing that I might want to try, too.
    Hope the rest of the school year flies by and you have a wonderful, relaxing, CREATIVE summer!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Your feelings make complete sense to me– sewing is (obviously) my main creative outlet other than music, and music is more my job. So when I go for long stretches where I don’t have time to devote to it, I get antsy/cranky/sad. Middle school is such a difficult age to deal with, too. I worked as a one-day-a-week band teacher for that age group for 3 years, and it was amazing how much of my energy it sapped. And that was with a group of relatively good kids, so I can’t imagine what you’re going through! Do keep your chin up, dear– hopefully you can at least work in a little sewing here and there to help you decompress, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy that extra free time that will come with the end of the school year!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - I’m so sorry that you work in such a stressful setting! I’m an RN and I call teachers all the time as a Health Coach with their insurance. I hear these same things from them. Can you work toward changing workplaces or profession? If you make a five-year plan and work it, sometimes that’s enough to give you hope and you can let some of the vitriol kind of roll off your back. You just keep envisioning a better life. Something to think about. And also, consider resupplying your brain with some of those depleted neurotransmitters. You may very well need a little boost from an antidepressant. It can give you hope that you can get through this instead of feeling immobilized and powerless. May you have a wonderful time soon and do all the things you love!ReplyCancel

  • liza jane - Three weeks, my friend. That’s all you need to keep in mind. Three weeks.
    I came home yesterday and cried— from the abuse of a fourth grader (and no I’m not a wimp, he really was mean!) I can’t imagine dealing with middle schoolers. I have no words of wisdom. Only that I understand. Teaching is rewarding and demoralizing, all wrapped up in one package. Though I do believe the reward is greater…. just not at this point in the school year 😉ReplyCancel

  • maddie - I don’t know how kids get through their teenage years either these days. I’m sorry it got you down but I’m glad to hear that you have your head in the right place and are trying to be a bit brighter and chipper. Three more weeks until you’re free!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - Hang in there Sunni – there’s not long to go! Try to be strong and let those bad moments roll like water off a duck’s back! Actually visualising it really helps. It sounds a bit wacko, but I do this when I’m running uphill – I imagine a strong hand on my back pushing me along, when I’m running into the wind I imagine I’m dividing the wind and it is going around me – it really works! Now I’m thoroughly embarrassed, but that’s OK if it helps you!
    And do get out there and exercise – get out and smell the roses, or in my case, crunch some autumn leaves! Sometimes it is the last thing you feel like doing, but it never fails to make me feel better.
    You can do it, we’re all behind you. Big hug!ReplyCancel

  • Shop Update ~ Silk Pins, Ribbons & Stay Tape! - […] also wanted to say an especial Thank You to you guys for making me feel like a million yesterday. I’ve read each and every one of your comments and each made me smile and remember […]ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - I’m so sorry to hear about the funk the students have put you into, I don’t blame you. I think the hardest thing when you’re feeling crappy about something is reminding yourself about the things that -don’t- make you feel crappy. But sometimes those things take more effort than you want to put in. So doing something really rewarding but small can be a great little pick-me-up. For me, if I try to jump into something too big, then I get bogged down by details and it doesn’t help (be it a knitting or sewing project, or planning a trip, or anything). Hope you’re feeling less funk-filled soon!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy @ Stacyverb - I feel for you, Sunni. Last year was a lot like that for me–bogged down by work-related stress, and too tired or down to enjoy any of my normal hobbies very much. One thing that helped me was making time for reading. Bringing a good book home from the library and letting myself get lost in someone else’s world/problems was a soothing way to escape, and required very little effort on my part.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles – I know all too well how cruel kids can be, as despite the fact I’m a grown woman, I still bear the scars of how I was treated as a child by my peers, and I know many others do as well. Kids can be incredibly cruel, and nowadays it seems that poor parenting, and lack of healthy leadership makes them all the worse.

    I know it’s so very tough, but remember their cruel words and insults have really nothing to do with you, but rather the way they feel about themselves and the turmoil that they feel inside. One can only pray that your warmth and disposition may have an affect on them that will leave a lasting impression long past their most difficult years 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alaskapsych - I’m so sorry you feel this way. And while most of the comments seemed to have the theme “Only three more weeks”, that does not address the issue. It is hard when it seems like the only kids you see are those whose issues land them in contained classrooms. However, I encourage you to seek out and try to remember what “normal” is. It is so hard to define. And once you realize you cannot define it, then the “bad” kids seem less “bad”. When I taught at the university level, teaching future teachers, I always used to say “I know you always feel like you are planting seeds in dust! But you never know when it is going to rain and the sun is going to shine! Those seeds will sprout, I guarantee it.” So take heart, only three more weeks left!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - Hi! This is the first I read your blog; and I was just looking for a dress pattern!:) This entry caught my eye having worked with kids of all ages, and in a middle school, in a room with the castoffs. That is what I called them in my own mind because as you know the kids get “labeled” so easily in middle and high school. These kids didn’t have a chance to redeem themselves because they were already labeled, as “bad” and so since it was their way of being popular it was what they continued to do. When they acted out I just smiled. Shock! heh heh. I feel for you… I really do. You need to take a block of time from your day just for you, doing what feels relaxing stress relief. I transferred, but I still think of a few of them and wonder…. some of them just seemed so sad. They know nothing but try to grow up too fast. Good luck and may summer come quickly for you! hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Gloria Hanrahan - You may want to delete this. I believe if you can’t see the kids positively, then you should leave. They deserve to have the adult with them view them in a positive light, no matter what their behavior. It can be done and it has nothing to do with middle school age. I’ve worked with all of the “bad” kids for over twenty years. I’ll take them any day over those “good” kids. They are a challenge and they are very real.


    • Sunni - I don’t want to delete your comment because I think you have a very good point Gloria. If nothing else I’ve learned that this environment isn’t really for me. There are many of the “bad” kids who I do think aren’t really bad and what’s more I think they have unbelievable potential and I love them in their way. But there are a select few who I personally can not view in as you say a positive light. They are very few, but they are still there and truly that’s what I think.

      Sadly though, even with those that I love, I’ve found that they can turn on you at the snap of a finger and all of sudden say and do the most horrible things, not just to me but to others. As I feel that’s why kids can be labeled as “bad” in the first place, I can understand that that is not who they really are to a certain extent. However, putting up with it is a whole other thing. Some of us just don’t want to be in the environment. I seriously applaud you for your perseverance in that environment, because I really do know how hard it is. Thanks so much for your comment and your sincerity!ReplyCancel

  • theperfectnose - I’m sorry to hear the little d*ckheads are making your life miserable (yes they are d*ckheads, having been a kid myself once, and having being beaten up by said d*ckheads and not always one on one either, I’m quite qualified to judge, thanks. The worst ones are the ones that use emotional bullying rather than physical because they’re smart enough to know that if you hurt someone you’ll get in trouble but if you taunt them into hurting themselves, it’s their fault- again I’m qualified to judge because there were two suicides in my high school and one of them was definitely a result of bullying). All you can do is strengthen your boundaries, keep in mind that the things you have no control over (i.e. what other people say) are not things that you can allow inside your boundary. So it they talk crap, fine, it’s just their way of proving their parents are idiots- it has nothing to do with you. Stand tall, take it on the chin and don’t waver. Trust me, once they realise they’re wasting their breath on you, they’ll save it for someone that gives them the response they’re desperate for (i.e. tears/ anger). Best of luck.ReplyCancel

  • Dee - Wow, that’s a tough situation for sure. Middle school years are hard for kids. They’re trying so hard to find out who they are and to survive each other’s badness. Role model great coping skills, sew and do other things that recharge your soul, and consider what else you might like to do for a living. Keep calm and sew on!ReplyCancel

  • Lavender - Hey Sunni, I just want to give you a virtual hug. Maybe this isn’t the case with all creative people, people I consider “seekers”, but I know for me, it’s so easy to get down and dissatisfied. I up and changed my world, quit my job a few months to pursue something higher, and it’s rough. I’m happy, and yet being untethered a bit is scary. Yes, even depressing some weeks. Do exactly what you’re doing, turn to your heart and your goals, and keep them in your focus. They deserve your attention and nurture.

    Middle school is such a rough time for kids. It was for me… awkward, not popular, the death of my step-brother & brother-in-law just months apart, hormones. At least I had a supportive family. These kids might be facing horrible circumstances and have nowhere else to go, bad nutrition that doesn’t support their mind and mood. Hang in there. If you can give one kid a glimmer of hope, they will cherish it. Even as an adult, I tear up at the thought of a few random instances of kindness at that age, people who never knew they were affecting me. The kids who are being rude to you… that seems like the most difficult aspect. But just try to lead through example. Is it possible/allowed to be frank with them by saying “your words are hurtful and adding no value to the classroom”, with clear rules or consequences (exiting the lesson, etc) ?ReplyCancel

  • Tanit-Isis - Aww, hugs! (a bit late, not sure how I missed this one…) I have a middle-schooler, and I heartily sympathize. As I say (more often than I probably should), I didn’t like twelve-year-olds when I *was* one…

    Does it help to remember how small and limited their perspectives are? They don’t even know how small their worlds are. The things they say aren’t a reflection on you, they’re a reflection of the limited perspective these kids have—they don’t know what cool is, what nice is, what makes for a good life vs. a miserable one. A lot of them are probably miserable themselves and trying to lessen that pain in the worst possible way, by spreading it around.

    My middle-schooler is also counting down until the end of the year—which is sad because it had been a really good year until Easter, when their teacher went on maternity leave and they got a replacement. Since then, she’s been miserable, and I can’t tell how much is just sulking, how much is genuine problems with the teacher, and how much is other kids acting out because they don’t like the new teacher. It’s a really awkward, unpleasant situation.ReplyCancel

  • seeks - There is such a thing as burn-out, Sunni, and middle-school work with “bad kids” can really take its toll. I work in the human services field, so I watch it burn-out happen to the best of us, and I still consider myself lucky that I don’t have to teach. I would collapse into a heap of sadness within the first semester! However, Oona brings up a wonderful point that it’s people like you who help make a world of difference to these kids. Even if it doesn’t seem so now, you may find that you had an impact you’d never imagine years from now. I believe you are on the right track: always take care of yourself. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming unable to see the wonder in the world that carries you through.ReplyCancel

  • Sewing for Citizen Schools v.2 « threadsquare - […] week. And I feel a little bad, like I should dampen my excitement a bit, because I know it’s not easy. I almost wish I hadn’t read that post this morning, and my post is in no way meant to […]ReplyCancel

  • the Button Up Refashion Swap - […] Friends, here it is! If you follow me on Facebook – which you should – this is the project I posted a little while ago. And this is also the project that I was talking about with my thoughts on refashioning. I’ll admit, I’m a little hooked on refashioning now. Can’t say that I’m really good at it, but I can see the value and sometimes the project can be really easy, like this one I’m about to show you how to do, and it can give you a little boost in your sewing if you need one. And as you know, I’ve needed one. […]ReplyCancel

  • Alicia C. - Oh, my! I’m sorry to read that you’re having such a difficult time. I understand how working in an environment filled with so much negativity can zap your creative mojo. (Been there, done that. In therapy because of it.) To have that negativity directed at you has to be even worse. I would encourage you not to think of the kids as “bad”, but rather as “struggling”. They almost certainly have personal issues that you’re not the slightest bit privvy to and have not yet learned how to properly direct their energy and anger. (Sadly, some of them may never.) However, they need the positive, passionate, inspiring person you are on this blog! I sincerely hope you can find a way to muddle through or even turn the situation around the tiniest bit in these next few weeks. I can’t wait to read more of your sewing adventures!ReplyCancel

  • Sigrid - I don’t think those middle school feeling ever go away, and kids that age might be “good” when they are alone, but as a tribe, they can be quite cruel. Even as a parent, I re-live my school fears when i step into a school. So hang in there and be easy on yourself!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Sunni, I taught junior high for most of my 30 year career…the kids are difficult and self centered normally. Add in poverty, family issues, sexuality etc—>lots of acting out. If you want to talk more, just email me: carroll61354 at charter dot net

    Teaching is a wonderfully fulfilling career and one of the most misunderstood jobs. It’s very complicated and difficult, but oh, so fun when it works.

    HTH, MaryReplyCancel

  • Rowsella - Hi, just felt compelled to send you some support after reading your post. I work as a nurse in a hospital so I know all about burn-out, been there myself a few years ago and had to take some time off. Do you work a summertime gig? If it is something you like to do, look at trying your hand at a different age group in a fun setting. Middle school is kind of intense. My son is now in college and I remember that time as being very difficult for him. He did have great resource teachers that he does like to go back and visit. Now he went to a suburban school that I guess were “good kids” etc. so I think it is a hard age regardless. Maybe this is not the environment for you. It is very hard to be a teacher today. The pay is low and expectations very high. You are battling with the student (and sometimes their family) to help the student. I commend your pluck in choosing this career and I hope you find your niche. Find some ways to defuse the anxiety and stress. (ha ha, listen to me….)ReplyCancel

  • Spin - You need a new job, or at least a different position where you aren’t working with just the bad kids. To spend so many hours of a day with people who drain the life out of you is a waste–especially since you are so talented and happy with other things in your life (like sewing). I feel your pain. I had a crap job and I felt like I unbuttoned my pants after Thanksgiving dinner the day they laid me off. I started a business doing what I really love. My hubby also has a crap job working with bad kids at juvy. The kids would say things just to get under his skin and as hard as he tried not to let it get to him, it did. He still works there, but he works the night shift when the little bastards are sleeping. So I hope you find a solution to your middle school problem. When I was in middle school, I noticed I had never seen so many kids end up in juvenile hall and eventually the correctional high school in town. It was where the punks were still mixing in with the regular kids. Maybe move up to high school or move down to elementary? Good luck…ReplyCancel