There was a very helpful article recently in the NY Times. I have provided a link below. The article reminds us that our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are working through many emotions and challenges – physically, socially, emotionally, behaviorally, etc. They do not have an easy time of it, and the more we understand about their FORMING brains, the more patience we will have in communicating and interacting with these TWEENS.
There are 567 of these Tweens in our building every day. The staff and I literally rethink systems and structures on a week to week basis, responding to what we see and the patterns that develop among the students. From how we move students through the building to what we present in Advisory, from the grading system to how to handle Out-Lunch – there is very little that does not cross our To Do List. This week, we are keeping our 7th graders in from Out-Lunch to give them time to reflect on their behaviors and their interactions - with each other and with others. An article like this reminds us that there is a lot going on in their heads & their bodies!
Your children present so many sides of themselves day in and day out. They are most often reasonable, and suddenly slightly off track. We must be on our toes at all moments to listen, investigate, manage, connect, and find a solution. We are often really good at this, and sometimes we are mystified. But our students, your children – Tweens and budding Teens – deserve our unceasing patience and determination to steer them gently through their middle school years.
Please read the article. Our students need space to manage relationships, advice to guide them, safe places to go to when times are tough, and realistic expectations so they can have a chance to navigate their lives.
P.S. And speaking of managing social conflict, do join us for "Java with Jacqui & Jill" next Monday, Jan. 28 at 8:45am in the Library. We'll be talking with 75M yogi & guru Colin Lieu, who has been working with your kids in the classroom on conflict resolution, mindfulness and restorative justice. This is your chance to get some insight you can apply at home... coffee & bagels provided!