When a student moves up from elementary school to middle school, the student will face many changes in the educational environment. Academically, middle school is typically more challenging while at the same time the social dynamics change as well. These are some typical changes to expect in middle school.
Several teachers each day
Students will likely have a different teacher for each subject and the student will likely travel the hallways to these classes. Frequently, teachers will work in pods with specific groups of students. No longer will a student have one single teacher in a contained classroom
In middle school, students demonstrate more independence and responsibility. Students will have lockers with combinations and students will be able to go to lunch in large groups. The hallways, although supervised, may not be as tightly chaperoned as in elementary school where one teacher supervises a class. Students move from classroom to classroom with teachers monitoring hallways. Teachers will expect completion of tasks, assignments and projects with less one-on-one influence from the teacher.
Homework generally increases in middle school. Students tend to have more project based learning that often has components to be completed at home. There will also be a marked elevation in the difficulty of the homework the student will be assigned. Often the first year of the transition to middle school will demonstrate the most change academically.
Increased projects with technology
Common core standards expect middle school students to read for informational text and write about their research. The increased reliance on technology for these assignments requires students to have access to a computer and appropriate programs.
Socialization and interacting with peers is central to middle school students. Unfortunately, this can lead to experiencing bullying or hurt feelings. While schools try to work on this area and to provide supervision, school official are not in the bathroom or may not be on the scene when these events occur. It is important to try to cope with any negative experiences in positive way and do not be afraid to contact school officials if there is a serious or repetitive offense.
More opportunities for school activities
In middle school there start to be more school sponsored activities ranging from athletics, to music to academic clubs. Encourage the middle school student to take an interest in at least one school activity. The more activities students test out in middle school, the greater the likelihood is for students to participate in high school activities. Activities allow students to acquire friends and gain acceptance among their peers.
Different discipline rules
The rules for school discipline often change at middle school. Infractions that in elementary school may have garnered a lighter punishment might warrant a stiffer penalty in middle school. Students may be given detention, in and out of school suspension, and can be expelled for breaking school rules. There are usually less second chances in middle school than in elementary school.
Playground recess is no longer held in most middle schools. Instead, there is usually a physical education class for an extended period. There is less recreational time and an increase in academic preparation. As a result, students may not receive as much physical activity as in elementary school.
Bathroom breaks between classes
Students in middle school are expected to visit the bathroom and have drinks in the time between classes. Students are generally not allowed into the hallway during class time. The expectation is that students are able last through the class time without having to leave the room.
Longer classes and more sitting
Although many teachers try to incorporate some kinesthetic aspects to their lessons in middle school, often less physical movement is evident in the middle school classrooms. Increased time is spent on assessment and listening to the teacher,
A great experience
Middle school has a reputation for being an unpleasant period in a student’s education, but for many students this can be a very positive time. The time that is spent with friends and the choices of activities, usually provide students with many pleasant memories and the building of friendships. Be a positive about this new stage in education.
Middle school is a challenging step in the life of a child, but it also represents many exciting and fun opportunities. The learning opportunities are many, and students can excel in any area where they wish to put their energies.