I love teaching middle school! Kids this age are amazing. My novel is a celebration of the resilience of adolescents. Here are twelve tips that I picked up from a dozen years of teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students:
1. They will do ANYTHING to get your attention, and then pretend they don’t care. They do care.
2. The first period kids would not be angels if they had you after lunch.
3. Saving their pride is the most important thing (just like adults).
4. They need you to stay calm and positive. Being negative encourages them to be negative, and it will get ugly FAST. Getting upset makes them upset.
5. Avoid sarcasm, even if it’s funny. But don’t forget to laugh WITH them.
6. Always let them know you care, even when they tick you off. They need boundaries and will CONSTANTLY test them (just like velociraptors).
7. They will give you advice. Thank them sincerely.
8. They will complain. Ignore it.
9. Love them. Humor them. Make them work hard EVERY DAY. Somebody has to!
10. They will tell you that no one else makes them do a, b, or c. Don’t believe them Smile and keep going.
11. When my students told me that I wasn’t cool (they meant to be helpful), I told them that I was OK with that.
12. Hold them personally accountable, but give them the support they need to be successful!