The perils of picking partners
Have you ever had to find a partner in school, but ended up without one? That has happened to me multiple times, and it’s never been fun.
I wonder why teachers make us pick partners. Picking partners or groups works well when you are included or when you have a lot of friends in the class. But still it is a lot of pressure to try and include all your friends to be sure they don’t get left out and to be sure that you don’t get left out either.
In middle school you already have a lot of friend pressure. Picking partners/groups just adds to that stress. As soon as the teacher says that we need to pick a partner and still is explaining the assignment, kids start looking around the room to try and find a partner. They ignore what the teacher is saying because they are more concerned about being left out and less concerned about what they actually have to do.
I think teachers make us pick partners because it is easier for them. If teachers don’t pick groups for us, then kids can’t complain about whom they are with. But I wonder if they remember what it was like when they were students and were left out or had to leave out a friend.
Some kids have trouble finding partners. I was talking with a classmate about this problem. She agrees that she hates picking partners, especially in classes where she doesn’t know anyone very well because she often ends up without one. It’s really stressful finding a group or partner if you are left out. Nobody should ever be put in that position. It’s not right!
This year one of my teachers picked “study buddies” for us and we use our study buddies for partners all the time. It’s a lot easier than picking partners every time. It works well because we know exactly who our partners are and we aren’t distracted when the teacher is explaining what we have to do because we know who our partner is. I imagine it works for the teacher too because she just assigns them one time, and then she can use them over and over again.
I have another teacher who has work groups that I like but we still have to pick partners sometimes.
So if you are a teacher or lead a group of kids, please consider picking groups for your students or kids. Don’t leave it up to the kids because it doesn’t work out as well as you might think.
Sixth-grader at Bay Middle School