Friday, August 26, 2011

what I learned this week - middle school edition

First week as a middle school teacher is in the books.
Here's what I learned this week:
#1 - 8th graders are just larger versions of 6th graders - they still need things spelled out.
#2 - it takes middle schoolers about 5 days to warm up to a new teacher - today there were so many "oh hey mrs. lewis" while walking around campus.  Actually excited to talk to me outside the classroom = good start!
#3 - I don't care for the repeating part of my day.  I never seem to keep straight what I have already said. I feel like I'm losing it pretty much all day.
#4 - Having student's lockers in your room means you have not a MINUTE to yourself, all day.  No time for the bathroom, and lunch, well, it is EXACTLY 30 minutes so my kids can get into their lockers.
#5 - 180+ names to memorize will be the hardest thing I do this year.  And the mandatory uniform takes away a lot of the personal style that normally helps me with their names!
#6 - Paper is hard to come by and by my prep 6th period, there is none left.  Once it's gone for the day - too bad so sad.
#7 - Speaking of "prep", they don't like when you call P.E. prep - elementary teacher mistake.
and finally
#8 - the gaps that kids have in their knowledge just gets scarier in middle school.  This week I taught a student how to use a ruler, and divide 18 by 3.  And no, I'm not being sarcastic.  Somewhere along the line we failed these kids.

Before school started we were talking about middle school, and how it really is the last step and line of defense before kids go to high school.  We may be the last ones to bridge the gap and prevent them from dropping out.  I like this mentality instead of just thinking of these couple of years as the "terrible middle school years".  I can already tell this will be quite the year.  Yes, it has gotten better, but I think I just may be an elementary teacher at heart.  We'll see.

Here is a preview of the quilt project I did with my students this week.  I'm excited to share the final products early next week!


  1. I haven't really read your blog this week since I went back to work and have been overwhelmed with teacher prep stuff. So...Happy Birthday, love the new furniture, your pyrex is adorable, back to school is always rocky and I hope it gets better and enjoy the weekend ;)

  2. # 1 made me true!
    It is shocking the gap in their knowledge and how things were not learned in elementary or just disapeared. We are the last chance of hope for some of these kids! Its worth the fight!! Glad you made it through your first week of middle school! Happy belated Birthday!

  3. Soon they will know just how lucky they are that you came into their 8th grade lives.

  4. Good outlook on the middle school years! Then pass them on to me! :) I have 120 freshman to acclimate to the high school years!

    And yes, the repeat of lessons and not remember what you have and have not said is difficult. Annoying too, especially when you forget to tell one class about their homework (which I forgot to do today to 4th period!)

  5. oh no - that isn't fun! I am having my kids write down their homework as soon as they come in, so hopefully someone will remind me to pass whatever it may be out at the last part of class! Trying to do opening, closing, lesson, and so on in 55 minutes is so challenging! Especially when you are used to a 20 minute "afternoon business" where my kids packed up and I read aloud. Oh minutes, how I miss you!