Sunday, October 7, 2012


            The first quarter of school will be ending this Friday.  We’re very busy this next week having students finish projects and assignments, so we can get all the grades in.  On Friday a fourth of the school year will be over already.

           Parents are most anxious during this first quarter of middle school, and I’m relieved when we get past it.   Instead of 10 to 15 long emails from parents every morning, I’m down to just one or two – or none!

            The kids will get their progress reports in a week or so, and it’s rare for anyone to be failing at this point.  Everyone is breathing a little easier.  But there’s information that parents won’t get on these progress reports that I wish they could know.

            Parents won’t know how bright and happy their kids’ eyes are when the bell rings.  Every 45 minutes they get a fresh start.  Whatever is going on in class is over and they move on to something new.

            Parents won’t know how good the kids feel about mastering their schedules and lockers.  They now know where they go eight different periods a day.  Two periods a day they negotiate the A-B schedules for PE and Electives.  They breeze through shortened schedule days and block schedule days.  Ten times a day they twirl the combination locks on their lockers and pull them open without even thinking.

            Parents won’t know that the kids aren’t sad about not having their old friends in their class because they’ve made new friends.

            Parents won’t know that their student has figured out that Mrs. Sneldon is not nearly as scary as they thought.  She has a mean bark when they are messing around in class, but she’s a sucker for sad looks and sorrowful excuses.

            Parents won’t know that the kids have figured out Mr. Ableman forgets to announce the homework sometimes, and he can be talked out of a due date the next day by telling him he never told them when it was due – even though he did.

            Parents won’t know that the kids have figured out that Miss Crawford hates her students to get bad grades on tests and she gives tons of hints if you go up and ask her a question during the test.  If you get a bad grade, well, you’re just not using the “tools” available.

            Parents won’t know that even though there’s a lot of homework in math, most of the kids have figured out that math is one of those subjects you can’t learn by just watching someone do the problems on the board.  You have to do some math problems on your own.

            Parents won’t know that the kids have learned that a novel can start out confusing and hard to understand, but by the time you finish it, it’s “the best book you’ve ever read.”  And there’s six more books in the series.

            Yes, it was an anxious, scary time starting middle school.  But it was scary starting 5th grade, and 4th, and 3rd, and 2nd, and 1st, and especially scary starting kindergarten.  It was scary leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time.  There was a lot of anxiety leaving your baby in the church nursery for the first time.

            It was scary going into labor and giving birth.

            But all these anxious, scary times starting new adventures are turning out to be doorways into bigger, brighter rooms.

(from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - no joke intended)

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