What Your Middle School Teacher Wants You to Know

What Your Middle School Teacher Wants You to Know

Sending kids back to school is one of the most joyous occasions in a parent’s life. I know, you love your kids (and I love mine) but sending those precious little bundles off for seven or eight hours a day makes me love them just a little bit more, if you know what I mean.

Summer is long, folks.

But as a teacher — a middle school teacher to be exact – -the thrill I feel of sending my kids off on the big yellow bus is short-lived because I have to head directly to my own school to welcome someone else’s kids back.

When people hear I teach middle school, they immediately express sympathy and say something along the lines of, “I’m not sure how you can do that, you’re a better person than me.” And I just smile and agree that yes, I am a better person than you.

Just kidding.

I feel the same way about kindergarten teachers, I don’t know how they do it. I couldn’t. Or nurses. Or our military. There are lots of jobs I don’t think I can do and I’m thankful, so thankful, that someone else is better equipped.

Teaching middle school is, let’s just say, an “acquired taste.” So if you’re not one of the select few who choose to spend their days around prepubescent twelve and thirteen year old kids, here are some things us middle school teachers would love for you to know as you’re dealing with your middle schooler or your middle school teacher.

We like your kids. No, really, we do.

Please don’t tell your children we don’t like them. It’s not true. We work hard to form relationships because it makes the learning environment better (and we truly like them!), so encourage your kids and keep your personal opinions to yourself. It only hurts your kids, trust me.

Help them become responsible.

Middle school is an awkward time, they’re no longer elementary “babies” but they’re not yet ready for the freedom of high school. It’s a hard time for parents too, as you find your new role with these soon-to-be teenagers. Start giving them more responsibility and hold them accountable for more things. Don’t bring their homework, gym clothes, or lunch money to them every time they forget it. Because then it won’t become important enough for them to remember on their own next time. Share with them how you stay organized and on top of things at work or at home so they can see that this responsibility thing isn’t a school skill, but a life skill. Show them how to be successful.

Don’t tell your kids they’re not good at a subject.

While it’s true that most of us are better at some things than others, telling your children they’re not good at math or reading or science or whatever it may be is immediately dropping their potential for success. Just because you’re not good at math doesn’t mean they can’t be. Just because you don’t really like to read doesn’t mean they will hate it too. Much of their success depends on your attitude about school and learning so please be as positive as possible about it so they can get the most out of their time at school. Even if you don’t feel positive about their (or your) school experience all the time, fake it.

I promise not to believe everything your kid says about home if you promise not to believe everything your kid says about school.

You remember the game Telephone? Keep that game in mind when your kids come home from school and share about their day. Take their stories with a grain of salt and if the stories still don’t feel right, call the teacher. Ask questions, but do it with a level head. Calling anyone with guns blazing before you hear all the details can’t end well for anyone. And chances are, you’re not getting the whole story from your kids. (Advice from the ornery kid who grew up to be the teacher.)

Be the parent, not the friend.

I get it, you raised some pretty cool kids and you want to be friends with them. But that’s not your job right now. They don’t need more friends, they need really great parents. Which means you have to do hard stuff like set boundaries, be consistent, and have high expectations for them so they can grow up to be awesome adults. Then you can be friends with them, but right now, they really need parents.

If you don’t teach, please don’t act like you know how to do my job.

Sharing what helps your student learn best or things that have worked in the past to make them successful = helpful. Telling me how to do my job when your student is just one of the hundred (or more) I deal with everyday = not helpful. And a little insulting, actually. Just because you went to school a long time ago doesn’t make you an expert in teaching. That’s like saying because I go to the doctor regularly, I could be a doctor. Or because I drive a car, I could probably build one. We are always open and welcoming to questions and concerns because we want your child to succeed just like you do, but treating our profession like something anyone off the street could do is dangerous to our profession and our students.

Read to your kids, they’re never too old.

I’m a thirty-two year old woman who still likes to hear good readers read aloud. And your middle schooler who thinks he or she is too cool for a babysitter or a bedtime probably likes it too. Reading to your kids, even at this age, is powerful. Find a series to read together. Talk about what you’re reading on your own and ask them what they’re reading at school. Ask the teacher to recommend a good trilogy to dive into. You’ll learn so much about your kids as you read together and spend intentional time sitting next to each other focusing on a book. It can be realistic fiction or fantasy, biography or romance, just find something you can both love and watch how it transforms your relationship.

And finally, it’s only middle school.

As my favorite retired teacher Mr. Quick always used to say: “It’s only middle school, folks.” These junior high years are some of the most awkward and painful years most of us will experience. All you have to do is look back at your old middle school yearbook to realize how ridiculous you looked. Read all the notes your friends wrote you on the inside cover too. If you’re not embarrassed by half of them you might not be human. All this to say that this too shall pass. Middle school is rough and wonderful and we’ll all make it out alive if we just stick together.

Attendance Matters!

Is your child in school today? Education officials raising awareness of impact of chronic absenteeism.

Is your child in school today? The Alabama State Department of Education reports that in the 2013-2014 school year, there were more than seven million absences in public schools across the state. That’s more than 49 million hours of missed instruction. September has been proclaimed Alabama Attendance Awareness Month, according to the state Department of Education, in support of the national campaign. The National Attendance Awareness Month was established last September to raise awareness of the link between attendance and academic achievement.

 

Poor attendance can start early, the state Department of Education said, and can affect a student’s performance throughout his or her scholastic career. Chronic absenteeism is considered missing 10 percent – 18 to 20 days – of school or more in a year. Research indicates that attendance is a major indicator for students eventually dropping out of school. Missing just two days a month can predict lower test scores and poor retention of knowledge in later years.

 

Attendance works, a national organization dedicated to improving attendance, offers materials, research and success stories about reducing chronic absence on its website. The group also offers technical assistance to school districts and communities.

Parents Set the Tone for Jr. High Success

Set a Good Example. Parents who value education have children who value education. Encourage your child to attend school daily and refer to it as a “job.” Don’t allow your child to miss school unless he is actually ill or there is an emergency. Teach responsibility by living it. Take your commitments seriously. Your kids are watching!

 

Encourage Good Study Habits. Parents can teach their children good study skills starting with organization. Start by cleaning out the backpack weekly. Have your kids write down all of their assignments in their planner and check it over daily. Encouraging students to have long-term goals and to keep up with their reading assignments pays off.

 

Set Boundaries. Let your kids know your expectations of their grades and behavior. Set realistic rules and consequences such as bedtimes and curfews. Don’t threaten or promise something that can’t be carried out.

 

Know Your Children. Discover their talents and interests. Encourage positive, productive extracurricular activities such as sports, music, dance or hobbies. Know how your kids are spending their time when they are not with you.

 

http://www.birminghamparent.com

2014-2015 8th Grade Information

A few notes for the closing of the 2013-2014 school year:

  • All band students should make sure to retrieve their instruments from the band room by noon on Friday, May 30.
  • All medications must be picked up from the nurse no later than noon on Friday, May 30. We are required to destroy any medications not picked up by that time.
  • Parents of students who will need to attend summer school will be notified via phone call.
  • Parents/students may not pick up report cards–they will all be mailed on May 30.
  • If your child has any outstanding fees, his/her report card will not be mailed.
  • If you do not receive your child’s report card, you will need to come and pay his/her fee in order to pick up his/her report card.
  • The office at MJHS will be open on Tuesdays during the summer, 8am-3pm (closed for lunch from 11am-12pm).

Following you will find necessary information for our 8th graders for the 2014-2015 academic year:

English Language Arts (ELA) info:

Beginning next year, all 8th grade students will be required to participate in the Moody Jr. High School Career Fair. Students will write a research paper on a career of their choice in their English classes. They will also be required to complete a project on the same career. There will be a school-wide Career Fair, during which the projects will be displayed and judged. Specific guidelines for this project will be released at the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year. However, students should use the summer to think about the career they would like to focus on, as well as ways to show evidence that they have had some type of hands-on involvement in the career (for example, tangible experiences in the career, interviews, observations, shadowing, etc.) for their project. Projects will be displayed on a tri-fold display board.

Summer Reading – The Giver by Lois Lowry (this book should be completed during the summer, as a test will be given during the 1st week of school)

Other books required for 8th grade ELA:

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (2nd 9 weeks)
  • Night by Elie Weisel (3rd 9 weeks)
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (4th 9 weeks)

Research paper – Students will complete a research paper focusing on the Holocaust and WWII during the 3rd 9 weeks.

Supply List

(2) rolls of paper towels

(2) boxes of tissues

ream of copy paper

12″ locker shelf

flash drive (1 gb minimum)

Expo markers (black or colored)

tri-fold display board

5 jumbo book covers

wide ruled paper

graph paper (4 squares to the inch, loose leaf, 3-hole punched)

black pens

pencils

colored pencils

pencil bag with grommets to fit inside a binder

Calculator (should be a TI-30Xa)

(2) 2″ binders

(2) 1.5″ binders

tab dividers

(3) composition books

high lighter

$3 agenda

$15 school locker rental

$20 P.E. uniform

$10 P.E. locker rental

$15 science donation

$25 class donation

First Aid Requests

Students often come to the office requesting personal and first aid supplies. If we have the supplies, we are happy to provide them. School faculty and staff often purchase these items from their personal money for students. It is very helpful if parents can donate a few items from the following list, as almost all students use these supplies at some point throughout the year.

  • Band-Aides
  • Pads and/or tampons (in addition, it is best if all young ladies keep a personal supply in their lockers)
  • Non-medicated chapstick
  • Cough drops (or peppermints)
  • Dental wax
  • Sandwich bags
  • 3 oz. paper cups

2014-2015 Dates

Tuesday, 07/29/14-Wednesday, 07/30/14 – Donation Days, 8:30am-2:30pm ($25 donation + $15 locker fee)

Tuesday, 08/05/14 – 8th grade Orientation, 4:30-5:30pm

Thursday, 08/07/14 – School begins

Monday, 09/01/14 – Labor Day, no school

Thursday, 09/11/14 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Monday, 10/13/14-Tuesday, 10/14/14 – Fall Break

Tuesday, 11/11/14 – Veteran’s Day, no school

Monday, 11/24/14-Friday, 11/28/14 – Thanksgiving Break

Monday, 12/22/14-Tuesday, 01/06/15 – Winter Break

Wednesday, 01/07/15 – Students return to school

Monday, 01/19/15 – MLK Day, no school (Weather Day 1)

Monday, 02/16/15 – President’s Day, no school

Monday, 03/30/15-Friday, 04/03/15 – Spring Break

Thursday, 04/23/15 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Friday, 05/22/15 – Last day of school

Tuesday, 05/26/15 – Weather Day 2 (if needed)

Wednesday, 05/27/15 – Weather Day 3 (if needed)

2014-2015 7th Grade Information

*The office at MJHS will be open on Tuesdays during the summer, 8am-3pm (closed for lunch from 11am-12pm).

7th grade English Language Arts (ELA)

Students will be reading the following books during the 2014-2015 academic year:

  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (this book should be completed during the summer, as a test will be given during the 1st week of school)
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (2nd 9 weeks)
  • Selected Short Stories by O’Henry and Edgar Allen Poe (3rd 9 weeks)
  • From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (4th 9 weeks)

*Students will complete a career-based research paper during the 3rd 9 weeks.

7th grade math

Students should be proficient with multiplication tables by the time they begin their 7th grade year of math. Please make sure your student reviews basic math facts and studies his/her multiplication tables over the summer.

7th grade band

Any student who would like to enroll in band but has not yet done so may call Dr. Sargent at 640-1995 or email him at brad.sargent@sccboe.org.

7th grade Supply List

12” locker shelf

(4) jumbo book covers

Calculator (should be a TI-30Xa)

Flash drive (2 gb minimum)

Ream of copy paper

Large binder with dividers for each class OR (4) 1” binders

(4) composition notebooks

Wide-ruled paper

Plastic folder with pockets

Mechanical pencils

(2 packages) wooden pencils

Blue or black pens

Highlighters

Colored pencils

Pencil bag with grommets

Expo markers

Expo eraser OR Expo board cleaner

(2 packages) 3×3 post-it notes

3×5 ruled index cards

(2) rolls of paper towels

(2) boxes of Kleenex

Clorox wipes

$3 – agenda

$15 – school locker rental

$20 – P.E. uniform

$10 – P.E. locker rental

$15 – science donation

$25 – class donation

First Aid Requests

Students often come to the office requesting personal and first aid supplies. If we have the supplies, we are happy to provide them. School faculty and staff often purchase these items from their personal money for students. It is very helpful if parents can donate a few items from the following list, as almost all students use these supplies at some point throughout the year.

  • Band-Aides
  • Pads and/or tampons (in addition, it is best if all young ladies keep a personal supply in their lockers)
  • Non-medicated chapstick
  • Cough drops (or peppermints)
  • Dental wax
  • Sandwich bags
  • 3 oz. paper cups

2014-2015 Dates

Tuesday, 07/29/14-Wednesday, 07/30/14 – Donation Days, 8:30am-2:30pm ($25 donation + $15 locker fee)

Tuesday, 08/05/14 – 7th grade Orientation, 6-7:30pm.

Thursday, 08/07/14 – School begins

Monday, 09/01/14 – Labor Day, no school

Thursday, 09/11/14 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Monday, 10/13/14-Tuesday, 10/14/14 – Fall Break

Tuesday, 11/11/14 – Veteran’s Day, no school

Monday, 11/24/14-Friday, 11/28/14 – Thanksgiving Break

Monday, 12/22/14-Tuesday, 01/06/15 – Winter Break

Wednesday, 01/07/15 – Students return to school

Monday, 01/19/15 – MLK Day, no school (Weather Day 1)

Monday, 02/16/15 – President’s Day, no school

Monday, 03/30/15-Friday, 04/03/15 – Spring Break

Thursday, 04/23/15 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Friday, 05/22/15 – Last day of school

Tuesday, 05/26/15 – Weather Day 2 (if needed)

Wednesday, 05/27/15 – Weather Day 3 (if needed)