By the All Saints Catholic School Middle School Team
Middle School. Just those two words are enough to fill any parent with dread. Popular culture depicts middle school as “the worst years of your life,” and truthfully, it can be a challenging time for parents and students. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As your children prepare to enter the critical yet often turbulent years of middle school, we wanted to share with you those qualities that we, as middle school teachers, feel lead to success. As a middle school teaching team, we do our best to promote these qualities, and we recommend that you encourage and commend these traits when you see them at home.
What does an organized student “look like”? An organized student is one who keeps what he or she carries from class to class to a minimum. Still, this student shows up for class prepared, with required technology fulled charged, or materials needed for class. He or she keeps track of homework and turns in work on time. This student makes sure to plan ahead and pace him or herself, accounting for any unique scheduling challenges such as ballet practice and soccer games. If this student is absent, he or she checks in with a “study buddy” to ensure that missed work is made up in a timely manner.
Call it what you will: Persistence, determination, grit. Either way, this is an essential trait. Life isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s often challenging. In order to be prepared for the challenges they will face, students need to be willing to work through even the most difficult (and sometimes boring!) of tasks without shutting down. This is especially challenging for a generation of students who are used to having so much so easily available (iPhones, anyone?!). That having been said, there is nothing more rewarding than success after a struggle, and once students have a taste for it, they seem to reach for it!
We could have talked about responsibility or independence here, but let’s face it: In order for students to become responsible and independent, they need to be able to take an honest look at both their strengths and their weaknesses. They need to take ownership for their failures along with their successes. No one is perfect, and that’s okay. Acknowledging mistakes leads to growth and development.
Approaching every experience and challenge with a positive attitude can really help make the middle school years easier and more productive. Not only will a positive attitude help students succeed academically, but it can help make forming friendships easier too.
A willingness to engage in the community, activities and life of the school will enhance your child’s middle school experience. Encourage your son or daughter to join a club, become involved in community service, join the drama club, or try out for a sports team. All of these experiences will teach them invaluable life skills of teamwork, cooperation and care for others.
All Saints Catholic School is a Pre-K to 8th Grade School in Norwalk, CT.