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July 9, 2024

Lessons I've Learned in Middle School...

Lessons I've learned since moving to middle school...

Kids are still kids no matter the age. Big kids or little. 

Kids all need to know they are important, they are valuable, they are cared about, they matter, and that they are loved. I realized my first year that many of the kids may not hear anything positive from an adult in a single day. During my second year I started daily telling my students it every single day - it was our daily affirmation. I was observed my second year and my admin took affirmations to the entire school. 

I say, "In case no one has told you today, you are important, you matter, you are cared for, valuable, and LOVED." About a month in the kids started saying it with me. It makes a difference. 

There are a lot of other lessons, but that's the most important.

Building relationships made the most difference. Learning how to build relationships in middle school - it was the same as elementary, but also different - sometimes harder as kids have learned to throw on masks and there isn't as much time during the day to make those connections...

The first year I made all these huge assumptions that I had to change who I was... even though the kids knew me as the elementary school teacher. That I had to be a certain way as a middle school teacher. I learned pretty fast - as I was melting under the pressures of changing grades midyear, that I couldn't be anyone other than who I was. Middle schoolers are great as picking up on fake and uncertainty. It was a hard learning curve.

Things got a lot better when I accepted that I am a cheesy teacher. I love being silly and having fun with my students. I love throwing in the unexpected and sharing about who I am. I was miserable when I was all serious all the time, when I left my personality aside. 

I had to learn the new routines of my new grade level, new curriculum, had to learn how to have and plan for multiple classes vs. just one, had learn to fit it all in a single period rather than a more flexible cross curriculum plan. I was one day ahead most days. But now I love it. 

I love seeing my students become the role models of the school, seeing them be the leaders. I love watching them grow in their confidence. I love how we have a big purpose throughout the year of getting them ready for high school. Learning how to be responsible in our small school, before they head off to a gigantic one. It is fulfilling being an 8th grade teacher. 

Have a great day!

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