Yesterday, one of my fifth grade students came in and told me he was sad because he and his girlfriend had just broken up. He was also very mad about the whole ordeal.
I saw him later in the day, and he said “You know how I told you that I was sad earlier, well now I’m not, because my girlfriend and I got back together.”
Today I learned they had broken up again, but “It’s ok, I have a new girlfriend; and me and my old girlfriend are friends again.” After this back and forth, I decided to ask: “What does it mean to have a girlfriend in 5th grade?”
To this, I got some amusing responses from my 2 fifth grade boys, the second of whom told me he as a girlfriend in Texas, who he had to call tonight.
Here is what I learned:
Having a girlfriend means hanging out and talking. When I asked how this was different than just being friends they really couldn’t answer =) Later, though, they mentioned that dating involved kissing. I asked them when they kissed- since they are at school most of the day, and have no independent transportation. They said at recess, “because the teachers aren’t watching” REALLY?!?!
I also learned that my boys have had girlfriends since 3rd grade, and one has dated “many girls, and has kissed all but one.”
I asked what they planned to get out of dating someone in fifth grade- the response was getting married- and then having kids! I think it was good that they thought you ended up with kids by kissing; but clearly some more education is necessary too.
The conversation made me laugh, but also has me a little concerned- why do fifth graders feel they have to date? I swear I didn’t feel like that in elementary school!