The new school year is here! I've prepped cinnamon rolls and stocked up on granola bars and worked on schedules and made copies. I've also done some thinking as the summer wraps up. Middle school is scary. Not only for kids, but parents too, isn't it? I think that a lot of times I take for granted the fact that I love working at a middle school and feel comfortable there. I realized that tons of people probably have horrible memories of middle school. So, for the first day of school, I thought I'd put together five things that I want you to know before you send your kids through our front doors;
We know middle school.
Middle school is a crazy, up and down, hormone rocking, memory transporting, place. You walk down the halls and can have vivid flashbacks of your own pimply tween years. Middle schoolers will start to act differently than what you remember from your elementary baby. Talk to us about this, because your kids are our expertise (no really, we went to school for this. Some of us specializing specifically in middle school ages). I know I personally love to talk about what makes my kids tick, what has worked for kids in the past, and what middle school looks like! Don't be shy, we're here to help!
We are busy.
This is not an excuse, it is not a complaint, it is just what it is. Some teachers teach 5 classes a day. Of 20-30 students per class. (and counselors, ahem, are always running around all day with over 300+ kids at some schools) Please let us know ahead of time if you would like to come and talk with us, observe a class, or have a meeting. We don't "just let you come in and have a peek" because we are trying to hide something, but because in less than an hour we have to a)get everyone settled, b) get everyone to write in their agenda c) check agendas d) give a lesson e) answer questions f) follow the law for IEP, 504, and SST plans. g)put out fires etc. etc. etc. It is extremely difficult to just give you a minute of our time when almost every minute of our time is already scheduled. Sending an email/calling to set up a time will be waaay more productive. That way we can give you more that a rushed and frustrated minute. (That being said, if you are willing to wait and are pleasant, those of us in the office will try our best to meet with you as soon as possible.)
We still need volunteers!
We don't have "room moms" like in elementary school but we do still need field trip chaperones, testing proctors, and help with celebrations and parties. This is great for us but also really great for you to be able to see your middle schooler in action. AND, the PTA is always looking for some new fresh faces! Getting involved helps you to feel comfortable at school and also helps you continue to network with other parents of middle schoolers.
It gets better.
I tell this to kids and parents. And it's so true. These years are tough, but it really does get better. There's not much to say about this, so I'll just show you my own awkward 7th grade self:
We love your children!!!!
I know this is hard to believe. I can't even keep track of the number of times that people have said "oooh, middle school. I would never do that". And we get it, middle schoolers can be hard headed and difficult but we are here for a reason. Most of us stay year after year because we love your kids. Even when they are being overwhelming. Even when they call us names. Even when we email about how they have 27 zeros and didn't study for the test. We work hard to show them a love of learning, we watch TED Talks (and cry) during staff meetings, we spend summers brainstorming how to make our school better, we suffocate inside mascots, have dance offs, sponsor clubs, and spend many many hours at home to make sure that we are ready to give your child our best at school. Please know that critiques are coming from a desire to see your kid reach their potential. Consequences exist to help your student learn. And at the end of the day, we go to bed thinking about how to make tomorrow better. We love your children, and are excited for the new year!
Happy new school year, friends.
Happy new school year, friends.