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Your Effort Always Matters !
Your Effort Always Matters !

Welcome to the Middle School Experience!

 

The most important thing to remember is that middle school is a time of tremendous change. Everything about your students is changing, their bodies, their attitudes and values, their relationships, even the way they learn and process information. The growth and change they go through is second only to the first two years of their life.   

 

There are many reasons for these changes:

1.      Hormones  

2.      Brain Growth

3.      Social Development 

 

What does all of this mean???????????

 

You can expect these changes to manifest themselves in as many ways as there are students in your school, but some of the most common ways are:

 

  Forgetfulness

 

The frontal lobes of a human brain are not fully developed until around age 21!  Your students' minds are so preoccupied with other issues, issues that are very real and meaningful to them, that they truly do not remember things. The constant anxiety about self and the wider world of middle school make remembering simple things like a pencil for class difficult at best. What can you do? 

 

1.     Students do not forget on purpose!

2.     Encourage the use of a planner.

3.     It is OK to remind students about important assignments/appointments. 

 

  Irritability

 

Middle schoolers can be irritable. Know it; accept it, for it is certain to occur. Their hormones are raging. This can bring on moods that are very real, sometimes physically draining, and always unpredictable. Just as you are getting use to one mood, it is quickly replaced by another. What can you do?

 

1.     Be willing to listen.

2.     Listen without lecturing.

3.     Validate their feelings!  A simple, "It sounds like you're angry about what happened" can make all the difference!

 

  Power Plays

 

As children mature, they seek more independence, simple psychology 101, right? During pre-adolescence students think they are pretty close to being an adult and they begin to test their boundaries.

 

A power play is nothing more than an attempt to exert power; unfortunately sometimes they do not always choose the most appropriate ways to convey this. The most common examples of a power play are non-verbal tantrums (slamming doors, sulking, and refusal to talk), manipulating (siblings, parents, teachers, and  counselors). What can you do?

 

1.     Choose your battles.

2.     Don't give in to manipulation. (Students know how to play us, they know how to get the responses they want, they are experts at setting up mom against dad, parent against teacher, and sometimes parent against school.)   

 

The importance of open communication between teachers and parents cannot be underestimated!

 

Friendships

 

Ah, the ups and downs of middle school! Kids that were inseparable all through elementary school can drift apart and a whole new group of friends may form. The peer group becomes the center of the world. The biggest trauma (and it is a trauma to them) is getting kicked out of your lunch table. 

 

1.     Do not downplay the importance of your student's peers.  Their opinion now means more than yours! 

2.      Conformity is crucial for acceptance in middle school.  It is important to have the "right" clothing brands of the moment.  You do not have to be a slave to fashion, just understand how these dynamics influence your child.