Bindy is your typical junior high student. She’s not a big fan of classes, she loves hanging out with her best friend Janey, and she gets sick of her mom trying to control her life. Everything in Bindy’s life seemed normal until Janey slowly but surely starts weeding Bindy out of her life. Bindy starts to feel like an outcast when her best friend starts hanging out with the popular girls, starts dating, and tries to act more mature. Just when life couldn’t get more depressing, things go from bad to worse. Janey starts pulling embarrassing pranks on Bindy and refuses to be seen with her. Bindy and Janey become more uptight and frustrated when their parents start dating! Janey lashes out at Bindy because she believes Bindy has revealed her greatest secret. Bindy starts to feel anger and hatred towards Janey. Bindy starts to learn more about friendship when Cara starts hanging out with her. Bindy learns more about what true friendship is supposed to look life. Bindy learns that it is better to forgive Janey in the end than to try and get even with her.
I think that this book is especially unique to middle school students because that time is such a transition time in their lives. I think many students go through the awkwardness of middle school, losing old friends, making new ones, and the feeling that life could not be any worse. I think this book would be especially helpful for me since I plan on teaching in middle school. I think that the biggest transition years of middle school are seventh and eighth grade. These are the two particular grades I would like to teach. I think it is helpful for me to remember how challenging these years are for my students. Not only is it a time of transition for their high school years, they are also adapting to other changes within their bodies as well.
Many people find middle school traumatizing. As a teacher, it is important to realize that many students are struggling outside of the class with social, personal, and internal conflicts. I think that it is especially important for a teacher to connect with their students during these years. This book also showed me that this is a good time to instill the importance of friendship and also how to treat your classmates. I can work on respect within my classroom. I think that teachers can help prevent some of these things by requiring students to be polite, considerate, and respectful not only to their teachers, but also to their fellow classmates. I can have a zero tolerance for degrading behavior in my classroom. That means for me that I also have great respect for my students and that I don’t tear them down or use sarcasm in a degrading way.
I think that if I used this book in my classroom I would have the students think of times they felt left out or circumstances in which they felt completely embarrassed or alone. How did that make them feel? I would then have my students think of an instance where they left someone out or treated them as less important then themselves. I would have them think about how they felt when it happened to them and then reflect about how they treated someone else. How did that other person feel? If I felt alone and unimportant, how did that person feel that I left out? They would have felt the same way. The students would discuss how in the story Janey should have treated Bindy. They would also discuss how that applies to their life and how they treat others affects that person’s feelings. I would lastly have them discuss friendship and what that means to them. What does friendship look like? Did Janey and Bindy present a good example of friendship? Why or why not? What types of examples from the story do we see that represent good examples of friendship and bad examples of friendship. They key to the story is friendship. Many of us go through life and have friendships change constantly. The thing to consider is: are we the cause of losing those friendships? Is there something we can do in our lives to make our friendships more important than the little disagreements? - AM