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Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now, One Teacher?s Take

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Benjamin ConlonLet’s
Leonardo Da Vinci


New England

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Positivity     43.00%   
   Negativity   57.00%
The New York Times
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Brian’s halfway through seventh grade and for the first time, he’s starting to wonder where he falls in the social hierarchy at school. Brian has a cell phone, but it’s off most of the time. Teachers have pretty good control over what happens at school.Now, let’s imagine Brian on a typical weekday. Brian has a fine morning in his seventh grade classroom and walks down to the lunchroom at precisely 12 p.m.There’s a slick of water on the tiled floor near the fountain at the back of the cafeteria. A few kids hear the laughter and look over, but Brian gets up quickly and rushes off to the bathroom to change into his gym shorts.Mark tries to retell the story to a friend later. In fact, Mark seems a little mean for laughing at all.After lunch, Brian returns to homeroom in his gym shorts. Brian doesn’t think about the incident again. A few years ago, Mark made his first Instagram post. Mark checked Instagram an hour after putting up that first picture. Someone had ‘liked’ the picture of the car. They generated enough ‘likes’ to keep Mark happy. Now it’s eighth grade and Mark has become addicted to social media. Mark has learned the best content comes from filming and posting the embarrassing experiences of classmates. A part of Mark wants them to fall. He hopes they fall.Brian walks across the cafeteria with his soup, minding his own business. He’s so embarrassed, that when he stands up and rushes off to the bathroom, he doesn’t notice Mark filming.Mark’s fingers race over his iPhone screen before Brian is out of sight. He knows he’s not supposed to have his cell phone out in school, but the teachers really only enforce that rule during class. Mark doesn’t know who he just filmed, and he doesn’t care. That’s what Mark tells himself.He gets the video uploaded to Snapchat first. Mark gives the comment a ‘like’. Mark sits back and refreshes his screen again and again and again until it does.Meanwhile, Brian heads back from the bathroom, having changed into his gym shorts. His parents don’t mind, they’re checking their own phones.Brian discovers that two new versions of the video have been released. Brian doesn’t want to be part of this. Across town, Brian isn’t smiling, but sadly, he’s hoping for exactly the same thing.

As said here by Brooke Shannon