There’s No Going Back to Middle School—What a Relief!

I do have some happy memories of middle school, but it I don’t think of it as the best of my school years. For most of elementary school, I was bullied, so middle school was definitely better than that. High school was even better, with more freedom and more choices. I’m happy for my youngest to see how excited she is to go to high school in the fall. In the meantime, she claims to hate middle school.

Middle school can be very challenging for kids as they go through so many physical and emotional changes. My older children didn’t like middle school, and I think that is pretty common. My youngest, however, is extremely social and school is a major source of socializing for her. When I ask her, she says she loves being with her friends but she hates middle school.

Recently, I was contacted by one of her teachers to come in for a conference. It was more like an intervention. Apparently, my child didn’t do much of her work for the last several weeks. The consequences were laid out and they weren’t pretty. An action plan was needed. At first she clammed up. She claimed not to care about the consequences and offered up no solutions.

I watched and listened as her teachers patiently worked with her to get her to open up and participate in developing the plan. It was a Thursday, after school, and there was no school that Friday. She had three full days to get the work done and then we both had to return Monday morning to check in.

We arrived on time this morning and she went through the work she’d done. A plan was drawn up for the rest of the week which included check-ins on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. She’s missing what her school calls “immersion week”, which is full of exciting activities. This doesn’t seem to be of much consequence to her, and she clearly concentrates and gets more work done at home than at school. Although she’s getting her work done, I’m not sure the lesson of getting things done on time to begin with, is actually sinking in.

It looks like she will avoid the harsher consequences since she is catching up quickly. Otherwise, no end-of-the-year trip white-water rafting in West Virginia…or even more dire, repeating eighth grade! Frankly, I think that I am the one who is getting disciplined by the system. Instead of dropping her off at school, I have to go in with her and meet for an hour. I don’t mind the time spent, it is well worth it, but I do have a job and being late three days in a row does not help me to get my own work done.

So, although I don’t have to repeat middle school, I’ve spent more time there lately than I planned. I’ve enjoyed learning more about the way they structure their lessons and how the lessons build and coordinate between subjects. If I had to repeat middle school, I would choose to go to my daughter’s school. I think it is a wonderful place to be. We have had very opposite experiences. For me, middle school was socially awkward and intellectually bereft. For her, the socializing is everything and the work is, well, work.

Find the Joy in the Journey…work hard and have fun!

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