• "The greatest learning often occurs after the teacher has left. The inner Master reveals himself when the outer Master withdraws."

    So you have a 6th grader? Maybe this is your first child going through middle school, or maybe it's your fifth! Regardless, your child is entering a new situation packed wth unfamiliar procedures and lots of new faces. It can be scary - for parents to watch and kids to deal with - but it is an exciting time of growth and opportunity for your child.
    This list is my best advice, based on 27 years of teaching and raising two daughters. It certainly is not exhaustive. You probably have your own items that you'd add. (I'd love to hear them -- shoot me an email.)
    1. Be there for your child, but don't do it for your child. This is the time to support your child in their efforts toward self-efficacy. It's scary -- they make mistakes, sometimes big ones.
    2. Help your child learn to navigate the resources available at school. If something seems to be going poorly, encourage your child to talk to someone: a trusted teacher, the counselor, the principal, or assistant principal. We are here to help.
    3. Talk to your child about activites and interests they are developing and help them see the potential connections to future careers. Crazy, but true -- high school is a few short years away!
    4. School is particularly rough for the kids who struggle in the classroom. If this is your child, be sure you find ways to celebrate the positives. We'll continue to work on the areas for improvement, but every child has the potential to make positive contributions based on their own talents and strengths.
    5. Be concerned about trends, not blips. It is normal for many kids at this age to try-out behaviors and attitudes that surprise and unnerve us. Talk to the counselor or a teacher if you want some feedback about how things are going at school, or have serious concerns. Follow your gut.
    6. Let your kids hear you brag about them. I am convinced that our kids want to impress us, even though they don't always know how to do that -- or act like they don't care about our approval.
    The image on this page was designed by my Uncle Steve. He taught in Pittsburgh Public Schools for 35 years as a fine arts teacher, then taught pre-service teachers at Duquesne University. He continues to create, even though he is almost completely blind due to macular degeneration.
    The graphic demonstrates how the work of William Glasser (Quality Schools and Choice Theory) and Parker Palmer ("We Teach Who We Are") form the foundation for the work we do. I'm happy to discuss my classroom philosophy and practices with you and how they are designed to facilitate success for your child.
Last Modified on August 12, 2012