Magazine article AMLE Magazine


Magazine article AMLE Magazine


Article excerpt


Middle school can be a difficult time for parents who are not sure how or where they fit into their child's education. From your perspective, what's the most valuable thing parents can do to help their young adolescent succeed in school?

TonYa MeaDoWS


WAshingTon counTy, MD

Being There

Parents need to realize that middle school is a time of transition for all students. Some embrace the change while others tend to be a little more introverted, really take the changes to heart, and require a little more time adjusting. Parents can comfort their children and reassure them that they will face this time together.

The best advice I can give to parents is simple: Stay involved! I think other teachers would agree with me when I say that the most successful students in the classroom are the ones whose parents are involved in their education.

We are always told that there are no silly or bad questions, so here are a few questions for parents to ask themselves:

Do I have the lines of communication open? Not just with the teachers, but with your child. Being able to communicate with your child can give you an insight into more than just the academics. Ask questions and listen to what your child has to say about her day, her friends, and the small things going on at school. You may find out more about your child than you ever imagined.

Do I really know what is required of my student in class? At the start of the school year, most teachers give the students a policy and procedures handout that informs the students- and parents-what the class expectations are. Did you see it, sign it, and never look at it again? Teachers do not mind receiving an e-mail asking about a child's progress in class. Remember, as a parent you may only have one or two students in school whom you are responsible for; an average teacher in my school is accountable for 130 to 160 students daily.

How can I stay in the loop? Most schools have a website or portal that is easy to access. The information is kept up-to-date and some schools give parents their own password to access a real-time look at their student's grades and assignments. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to retrieve the information needed to open the lines of communication with your child and the teachers.

Most important, remember, this is not only a milestone in your child's life, but also in yours. Facing it together will make it much easier!

TONya MEaDOWs is a technology education teacher at Boonsboro Middle School, Washington County, Maryland.

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The Balancing Game

Knowing just the right level of involvement in a child's education is a delicate balance. Parents will find it's not an easy task and very few will strike the right balance the first time. Having said that, I believe they can do several things to help their child transition successfully into and through middle school.

Parents shouldn't completely "cut the cord," nor should they hover over their child in the hallways. Some parents believe they should back off when their child enters middle school. Yes, they should allow their child some degree of freedom and autonomy, but not to the extent that the parents solely rely on their child to update them about their academic, social, and behavioral progress, especially in the sixth grade.

Many parents think their child is succeeding academically because their child said he didn't have homework or that she did her homework at school and there aren't any tests coming up. …

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