The Not-So-Secret Secrets of Success in Middle School
That time of year is fast approaching once again! As we try to pump the brakes on that downhill slide to the first day of school, it’s hard to get out of the summer vacation mindset. Whether it’s your first year of middle school, or you’re almost out the door and headed for high school, there are several “well known” secrets to having a successful year. These may seem like common sense, but sometimes we can all use a little reminder to get back to basics.
Your teachers are on your side!
I know that sometimes it seems like teachers are bugging you at every turn, but whether they’re cheering you on or “gently” suggesting that you make different choices, they are motivated by the desire to see you succeed. Try to base any of your interactions with them on the knowledge that they are doing what they do because they believe they are helping you. Additionally, let them know when you are struggling. They can help.
Figure out how to stay organized.
Middle school has many moving parts. With multiple teachers, many different classrooms, and making sure the right materials are in your backpack at the right time, organization is crucial! Decide what works for you, and then be consistent. If you need help, suggestions, or specific supplies, discuss this with your teachers and parents or guardians promptly. They will be happy to help!
Learning is all about reflecting on past experiences and taking specific action to better yourself. Think about your successes in the lower grades and how you can build on those. Also consider obstacles you’ve faced and how to prevent or overcome them before they once again rear their ugly heads. Make your goals SMART: specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Having a goal gives you direction and motivation.
Don’t spend too much time on homework.
Are you surprised to read this advice from a teacher? It’s true! When I hear a parent tell me that my student spent “hours” on homework, then I know something has gone wrong. If hours are being spent actually focusing on attempting to complete the work (and you’re not just locked in your room for hours taking occasional breaks from Netflix and gaming to glance at your homework), then you’ve passed the point of benefit. Homework should be a review of skills learned in class or completion of work not completed in class. If you can’t understand how to do it, practicing it incorrectly will do more harm than good. Instead, write down specific questions or notes detailing what you don’t understand about each problem or example, and then email your teacher saying how much time you spent and asking if you can get additional help at school the next day.
Be a role model!
I’m not trying to put any pressure on you, but as a middle schooler, you are now a top dog at RSPS. The littles all look up to you and are watching your every move. Like it or not, you are a role model. As you move about the building, try to keep this in the back of your mind. What example do you want to set for the little eyes that are watching you? Show your little buddies exactly what it means to be Respectful, Safe, Prepared, and Smart. Not only will you be showing the next generation of middle schoolers how to be a Panther and a leader, but you will be making good choices to keep yourself out of trouble while earning house points, privileges and rewards, and most importantly the trust of all those around you.
So those are just a few “secrets” of success in middle school, just enough to get you started on a successful year. We can’t wait to see you again on campus and help you have the best year ever!