Putting Education Reform To The Test

The Secret Lives of Students: How Cliques Make it Hard to Concentrate in Class

For the second installment in our series, The Secret Lives of Students, we hear from Miami students about how school cliques affect their performance in class.

Editors note: this post was written by students Genice Nadal, Ana Chao and Teresa Fernandez.

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

Genice Nadal, 10, in class at The Carrolton School in Coconut Grove.

By Genice Nadal, 10

Cliques can affect your educational performance because when you are left out of one you feel unimportant and that’s not a feeling you’ll love.

Some cliques include the popular, nerd, and normal cliques, or if there is an empty table that is where the loners are.

I am part of a clique also but the clique I hang out with feels more sister-like. We are just one big sisterhood but it’s just more than I can describe.

Every loner will always be welcomed at our table.

Some kids are very rude to loners and don’t notice it though.

While the loners are in class there is something there that is bothering them.

The feeling is humiliation.

They are mortified because they were so embarrassed in front of a clique that’s rude and disrespectful. Just thinking about it in class distracts your attention because you will be daydreaming of what happened in breakfast or lunch and also after school.

For instance, let’s say you’re on the bus and sitting alone. Then when they pick up another school nobody sits next to you.

BOOM! Your feelings are hurt because everybody knows each other and you’re the main unfamiliar person and you really dislike it.

Trust me, that type of feeling is what you’re always going to get when you’re the new kid.

Then here you go again. When you get home you can’t focus on your studies or homework. That is another way to describe how it affects your educational performance.

It is still counted as a clique because when you sit on the wrong seat on a bus, the clique who constantly sits there might be offensive towards you or other cliques who sit there might even bully you.

Nadal is in the 5th grade at Downtown Miami Charter School. During the Breakthrough Miami summer program, she attends the Carrollton School campus.

Breakthrough Miami

Ana Chao, 13, working in her journalism elective class for Breakthrough Miami at Ransom Everglades School.

By Ana Chao, 13 

The idea that the smarties, the nerds, and the know-it-alls are nothing but a group of people who spend their time studying is an error.

The “nerds” have their own inner workings that depending either on the intelligence or the attitude of the person makes them either reach the top or be a nobody.

You are probably thinking how could she know anything? The reason that I know about the inner workings is because I am a “nerd.”

We have certain rules that we all have to follow to keep up the images that everyone has of us.

Here are the rules.

  1. Don’t let others know of the truth (kind of broke it)
  2. Make sure that your grades are above most of the cliques
  3. Make people believe that there is no such thing as the inner workings.

Most people think that nerds are naturally smart. Some may be, but most have to study for many hours.

I’m not good at sports and I decided to do academic things.

People think that I’m supposed to have the perfect life since I’m smart. But being smart isn’t all it’s out to be.

Many people don’t like being outdone. That’s why they will use any chance to bring me down.

Smarties get bullied by other people, and the teachers try to make up excuses for the bully. I understand that they are jealous. What I don’t understand is why no one defends us?

Chao is in the 8th grade at International Studies Charter School . During the Breakthrough Miami summer program, she attends the Ransom Everglades School campus. 

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

Teresa Fernandez,12, in class at The Carrollton School in Coconut Grove.

By Teresa Fernandez, 12

  • Cliques: A clique is a social group of 2 or more people who often exclude others.

At my school it is totally noticeable.

There are definitely the “outcasts,” the “wannabees,” the “populars,” the “athletic people,” and the “trouble makers.”

It would affect your academic performance because you would be worried the whole school day about who you would be sitting with at lunch, and then, after lunch, you would be worried that people would think that you are an outcast.

I’ve had quite a few experiences with clique and what can I say?

In my opinion it is the most boring thing in the world. Sitting next to the same people every day, listening to the same conversation over and over and over — it gets old after a while.

Fernandez is in the 7th grade at Coral Way Middle School. During the Breakthrough Miami summer program, she attends the Carrollton School campus. 

For the next month we’ll hear from students about life in Florida schools. They’ll open up about public displays of affection on school campuses, the FCAT, using outdated textbooks, and other aspects of school life.


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