You said goodbye to your elementary school teacher. You’ll be back to visit, but a part of you wishes you could stay at that school again next year. You have butterflies in your stomach – partly because you have to admit that you’re excited about going to middle school – partly because you can’t shake the queasy feeling that comes from being just a little scared too. As a sixth grade teacher, I could usually hear a pin drop in my class on the first day of school. I would joke with the students that I wished they’d be that quiet all year. Even though some covered it up better than others, they were all just scared. Students anticipating middle school have many common concerns. You’re not alone. By the end of the first week, you’ll feel like an old hand at this middle school thing.
Middle-school teachers, hall monitors, and staff will help you get to class on time those first couple days.
No one expects perfection. The middle school campus will probably be larger than what you’re used to. Where I worked, students got their schedules a few days ahead of time. They were invited to walk around the school, tracing the route they’d take on that first day. Don’t stress when you get lost…just ask for help.
You will get the hang of opening your locker.
Some kids, unfortunately, get stuck with combinations that just don’t work. Don’t panic. Since you won’t have many books to carry around yet, you can live without a locker for a couple days. Be sure to tell someone. One middle-school girl I knew secretly avoided her locker all year because she thought it was her fault that it wouldn’t open. It was just broken.
The lunch lines will get shorter.
Some kids hear the horror stories about long lunch lines in middle school, so they choose to pack their lunches during the first week (even though they’ve also heard that middle-school lunches are better than the ones in elementary school). There are students who take “Cafeteria” as a class. They have a lot to learn, so it takes a few days for the operation to run smoothly.
Not a great dancer? Go to the school dances anyway.
Half the kids at middle-school dances just stand around and talk. Their main objective seems to be scoping out the “cute boys/girls.” It’s a great way to meet new friends and listen to some music. Hey, you might even end up picking up a few new dance moves.
If you’re not athletic, that won’t exclude you from teams and activities.
There are plenty of extra-curricular clubs such as math, history, student council, and drama that can accommodate different interests. Sometimes, if a group of students is interested in a certain type of club, they can enlist a teacher as their advisor. Once I helped a group of students organize an improvisational drama club. We had a ball.
Yep, you’ll have about six different teachers.
And I’ll let you in on a secret…you won’t like them all. That’s okay. There will be some funny ones, some extra-strict ones, and some extra-kind ones. Just figure out what’s important to each teacher, and then follow their individual requirements. Don’t spend time trying to aggravate the ones you don’t like…you’ll lose in the end.
You’ll see all shapes, sizes and varieties of kids.
One of my students could barely fit through the door because his hair was spiked up so high. However, he was a great, funny guy. Learn to embrace differences. If you do encounter a bully, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your parents or a teacher. Bullying is never acceptable.
Don’t obsess about the workload.
Teachers work together to try to keep the workload manageable for middle-school students. The key is to purchase supplies and get organized…quickly. A day-planner will become your best friend. Click here to read what I think the most important organizational tools are for middle-school students. Keep up with homework and you’ll be right on track.
As far as those smelly P.E. locker rooms go…
Well…you’re on your own there. I’d suggest getting dressed and getting out of there as fast as you can!
Middle school provides a great opportunity for a fresh start. Picture the way you’d like to experience it. Move past your fears and enjoy this special time in your life.