Let me tell you something: middle-schoolers and elementary-schoolers are about as similar as chocolate and ground glass. Which, incidentally, is not very.
In middle school teaching, I became very skilled at avoiding the following words in conversation: jugs, balls, screws, sac, hung, jerked, blow, suck, whacked, and anything remotely related to beds. In fact, I could have entire conversations with friends and never use any of these words.
In elementary school, only poop and farts are funny.
Anyway, since teaching elementary school, I have come to the realization that I will not be able to a) make new friends, b) keep old friends, or c) date anyone ever again. Why? you may be asking yourself...
It turns out that whereas middle-schoolers would answer and talk mostly in monosyllabic grunts, including such classics as "Duh.", "Huh?", "Yeah." "No." "Loser." or, in cases of extreme excitement, "Yay.", elementary school kids believe that the more words you can shove into a ten second time span, the better off you are.
Unfortunately, our educational system has accidentally developed a method for allowing children to ramble inanely for hours and call it a part of the curriculum. The kids have managed this little trick with an important piece of curricular vocabulary: "text-to-self connection."
I'll be discussing something of curricular importance when a kid will raise his hand, look at me with a glint of hope in his eye, and says, "I have a connection." Then I die a little inside. "A connection" is basically any excuse to talk about whatever unrelated topic pops into your mind.
Me: So, in the story, the boy and the girl were trapped in a basement by the earthquake..." (hand shoots up)
Billy: I have a connection.
Billy: When I was little, I had this hamster, and his cage was in a basement. It was in the basement because his wheel made a ton of noise and I couldn't sleep if his cage was in my room. His name was Fluffy Monkey, because he was fluffy and he could climb on his cage around like a monkey. He even liked bananas! Well, one day, in the basement..."
Me: Does this story have anything to do with earthquakes or trapped children?
Clearly, the system has failed me.
Elementary school kids also become ecstatic at connections they may feel with their teachers. While middle- schoolers pretty much only think you're cool if you tell them you're not and that you think children are vile, elementary school kids think everything you may have in common is just simply the most awesome thing in the world.
Joey: Miss M, are you eating a banana for snack today!?
Me: Umm, yes. Yes I am. Hooray! I see you have a banana, too.
Joey: Yes! I'm eating a banana! So is Sam! So is Amy! We all have bananas!
Me: Yes. Maybe we should start a banana club.
Joey: YES! A banana club! Hooray! I'm in a banana club! I'm gonna bring a banana every day! Will you eat a banana every day, Miss M?!"
At this point, I'm seriously considering never eating a banana ever again. In fact, burning down rain forests to completely halt the natural production of bananas is seeming pretty good right now.
All this talking means that by the time 3:30 rolls around, my ear drums are bleeding and I am ready to poke them out with toothpicks in order to stop the pain. I do not want to hear any more amusing anecdotes about kittens, stories about poop, or fart jokes. Ever. Again. There is no silence here. Never.
When I go home, all I want to do is sit in a padded room, in silence, with no stimulation whatsoever. I do not want to talk to friends, listen to anyone's problems, or bond over produce.
I do not want to listen to any potential boyfriends tell me how cool or special I am.
After all, I already know that. I started the Banana Club.