As a middle school principal, I hear both of these voices a lot. While I agree middle school kids can be challenging, I love working with them, even though many times we scratch our heads and wonder about the behavior of the middle school kids living in our houses and classrooms. “Why are they acting this way? What in the world are they thinking? Is this a stage they are going through? Is this normal?”
Even though every day might be a roller-coaster ride, I wouldn’t trade my experience with kids this age for anything. Why? It’s because as long as we understand their perspective and developmental stages of growth, middle school kids can be the best, brightest, and most wonderful kids to work with.
Allow me to introduce myself—for the past 23 years, I have worked daily with parents and educators in helping middle school kids reach their full academic and social potential. Because I have worked with over 23,000 middle school kids up close, parents and educators expect me to know the answers—or at least have a good guess as to what is going on. Each day I leverage my career experience as a school psychologist, a classroom teacher, coach, and middle school principal, to try my best to help parents, kids, and teachers make it through each challenge and find opportunities with a common understanding.
In helping to solve problems involving middle school kids, I also use my experience as an instructor at the University of Minnesota where I taught classes for many years helping teachers understand middle school issues and gain insight into the cognitive development of kids this age.
Additionally, I have been involved in workshops at Harvard University with a focus on improving schools and school leadership. For several years, I also led the Minnesota Middle School Association as President, where I advocated for middle school education and curriculum initiatives.
In the working world, I have been involved in numerous school improvements, including transforming a middle school, from start to finish, into an International Baccalaureate World School. (As an aside, I can tell you for a fact that transforming a school building is a lot harder and takes more time than arm-chair pundits, politicians, and public policy experts claim.) Along the way, I have also been a middle school principal for over 19 years and exclusively worked in middle schools for over 23 years. All of my experiences have left me uniquely qualified to work with and understand middle school kids.
I hope you enjoy this site and find the resources useful and relevant to what you and your middle-schooler are currently experiencing in your home and at school. If you like the site, please tell your friends about it. Together, let’s create a dedicated group of parents and educators who are engaged in helping their middle school children succeed and thrive!
Because this is a new adventure for me, I appreciate your comments, questions, and ideas. I would love to hear from you, so send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org