The lazy days of summer are gone and school has officially begun. While we are sad to see the days of limited time commitments, haphazard schedules and lack of routine gone, we are glad to welcome a new group of sixth graders to “Life in the Middle.” I’m not sure who is more terrified of middle school - the students or the parents. Bigger hallways and class buildings, a spread out campus, the rotation of classes and now lockers are some of the “scary” realities for these students. I often hear, “What if I get lost? What if I can’t get my locker opened? What if I forget my homework?” as I meet new students at orientation.
We all want what is best for our kids. As adults we do things for them, starting at an early age, and think we are helping them but we aren’t. It is not apparent, at that moment, the damage we may be causing and I think we may be creating monsters that awaken later on in life. I see it with my own kids that are 6 years old and 4 years old and I certainly see it with our middle school students. The things we do – help them clean up their room, work with them on their school work, print out assignments, assist them in research – all good things that seem like good ideas, but we are not allowing them to develop independence, responsibility, critical thinking and decision making. More importantly, we are not allowing them to fully “take ownership of their learning."
Students need to focus on the PROCESS and not the RESULT. I know that sounds easier said than done but it's worth pausing for and important enough that this was my topic for last week’s Middle School Town Hall.