The Middle School Monster
Throughout a child’s middle school years, which usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade, the experiences are like something out of a novel. There are protagonists and antagonists who they meet along the way as they make new discoveries about themselves and the other sex, develop new friendships, engage in conflict with their peers and family members, experience growing pains and raging hormones, break away from their parents and start to gain independence.
Looking back, some people enjoyed their childhood years, while others soon dismissed them as a distant memory. Perhaps your child has recently entered middle school and you are worried if he/she has made a smooth transition these past few months. What are the biggest fears that children have when they arrive at the middle school? According to a survey that I did, in my five middle school classes on the first day of school from over 110 students, the top five concerns mentioned were:
- Not being able to open up their locker,
- Being late for class,
- Not being able to meet academic demands,
- Not making friends,
- Being outcast and not accepted.
Take a Trip to Visit the School
Some kids anxiously worry all summer long about going back to school. Depending on their personality, children react differently to transition. Some kids require more time to adjust to different settings than others and would benefit from taking a trip to the school before the start of the new school year and walk the halls, practice their locker combinations and see their classrooms firsthand.
Positives at a Middle School
The middle school model encourages a team-based approach where students are placed on “teams” and are assigned to a core group of teachers in which an interdisciplinary approach is taken. Teachers are better able to keep track of the academic and behavioral status of a large group of kids in this manner.
After the first week of middle school, I re-polled my students and asked them to make a list of the things they liked about middle school. They indicated:
- Able to move from class-to-class,
- More independence,
- Getting out of school earlier,
- Teachers are nicer,
- The library is cool.
Negatives at a Middle School
Let’s face it: middle school is a socially awkward time for many kids. Troubled children causing conflict in the school is the reason why some kids experience “school phobia”. The poll that I gave to my students at the end of the first week of school included things they disliked about middle school as well which included:
- Being verbally abused or physically hurt,
- Getting a locker door slammed on their hand,
- Getting “booked” in the hallway by another student,
- Getting pushed in the hall by other middle school kids,
- Being laughed at or made fun of for how they looked or what they wore to school.
For more information on empowering your child and assisting in their maturation, decision-making, overall development and becoming super healthy: Check out Doug’s official website: www.douglashaddad.com
Douglas Haddad, is a public school teacher, nutritionist and the author of parenting/child guidance book Save Your Kids…Now! The Revolutionary Guide To Helping Youth Conquer Today’s Challenges and co-author of Top Ten Tips For Tip Top Shape: Super Health Programs For All Professional Fields.
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2013 Magazine