Top Ten Lists
Top Ten Reasons to Love a Middle School Child
- They will try anything.
- They don’t know what is difficult or impossible to accomplish.
- They laugh at bad jokes.
- They like funny and quirky people.
- They work hard once they understand what it is they are supposed to do.
- They make friends faster than adults can switch out a flat tire.
- They are quick and not shy about pointing out inconsistencies between what adults say and what they do.
- They stomp through mud puddles rather than going around.
- They bounce back quickly from obstacles and bad situations.
- They live in the present. They truly live one hour at a time.
Top Ten Tips for Fostering Good Behavior in Middle School Kids
- Explain and show them exactly how you want them to act in certain situations. Go step by step.
- Expect them to demonstrate good behavior. Tell them you expect good behavior—all the time.
- Always point out the positive things they do when other people are around. Correct their behavior when you have them alone.
- Model appropriate and good behavior yourself.
- Never yell at them or call them derogatory names. Even if you are upset at them. Keep your voice calm and level and at normal conversational speed.
- Make sure they have significant contact with adults who are good role models.
- Give them regular chores and duties to do around the house or classroom. No one should ever have to clean up after them.
- Give them specific time frames by which to get things done. Stick firmly to these deadlines.
- Never threaten them or tell them something is going to happen—unless it really is going to happen. Always follow through with what you say is going to happen. If you can’t follow through, never bring up that specific option.
- Give them limited choices. They don’t get to make all the decisions but they should make some.
Top Ten Important Parenting Tips
- Teach your middle school child how to handle failure and disappointment.
- Don’t be a helicopter parent. Let your kids be responsible for their own life and actions.
- Give your middle school child a quiet and separate place to study at home. They should develop a routine and start studying at the same time every day.
- Don’t let your middle school child spend more than an hour a day on electronic entertainment.
- Love them unconditionally. Nurture them.
- Focus on behavior. Don’t bother asking them, “Why did you do _________?” They probably won’t know the answer and their answer probably won’t matter.
- Teach them exactly what you want them to do. Go step by step.
- Make sure they meet interesting, positive, and level-headed adults.
- Make sure they eat nutritious food and exercise daily.
- Give them options and let them make some decisions. However, be a parent to your child and not a friend. The quality of your parenting is more important than any other factor.
Top Ten Future Trends That Will Impact Middle School Kids
- Technology and robots, cloud computing, and smart machines will be everywhere. Middle school kids will need to know how to properly use technology, including nano, bio, neuro, info, and quantum technologies. The luddites will not inherit the earth.
- Many new types of jobs will spring into existence. Their future job may not exist today.
- The world will be a smaller place. Middle school kids will need to know how to collaborate and work with people from all over the world.
- The future belongs to those who can think creatively and solve problems. Memorizing significant amounts of facts won’t help them creatively think and solve problems in the future.
- They will need to solve problems created by their grandparents and parents, which have been passed on to their generation.
- Africa, Asia, and South America will be economically rising places in the world.
- The future will belong to those who can think like an entrepreneur. They will not need to be an entrepreneur, but they will need to think like one.
- The Renaissance man or woman, who dabbles in many things, and who can creatively string these eclectic pieces of knowledge into a coherent whole, will be the one who leads in the future.
- More schooling will be online and they will continue to take school work and classes online. But face-to-face contact with a real teacher will continue to be important. The positive benefits of online schooling are overhyped and the negative consequences under exposed.
- They will receive a more customized education, based on their interests and skills. The lock-step traditional education in which everyone take the same courses, will eventually be a relic of the past.
Top Ten Important Tips for Middle School Teachers
- Teach kids not content.
- Teach them what hard work looks like. Demonstrate for them. Give them examples. Don’t assume they know what hard work looks and feels like.
- Motivate and inspire them. Think like a coach.
- Know what research says about effective teaching. Then go do it.
- Know your students thoroughly. Memorize their names.
- Personalize learning. The students in your classes do not need to do the same thing at the same time.
- Say “no” to mindless worksheets. Think projects, scenarios, investigations, and real-life situations.
- Teach and educate. Don’t punish.
- Give them options and let them make some decisions.
- Listen to parents. They know important things about their child.
Top Ten Important Things Middle School Principals Should Remember
- You were hired to help kids.
- Teachers are the best resource you have to help the kids.
- The school curriculum must reflect what kids need for the future, not what they needed in the past.
- Reread #2 from this list again. Yes, teachers are that important.
- Make your school world class.
- Hire only positive, morally-sound, and friendly teachers. They don’t have to be perfect but they must be kid magnets.
- Hire only teachers who have high expectations for students.
- Expect teachers to do great things in the classroom.
- Never bring in programs because they will help build your resume. Stop using the principalship as a stepping stone.
- Work the school system to help the kids. Forget about being popular with the school administrators above your pay grade. If you do your job correctly, not everyone is going to like you. Popularity is overrated.
Top Ten Most Important Things Superintendents and School Boards Should Remember
- You exist to serve the students and teachers. It’s not the other way around.
- Focus on improving instruction in the classroom.
- Always remember that middle school kids and teachers are just as important as elementary and high school students and teachers. Treat them this way.
- Understand technology is a tool for learning and not the only thing for students to learn.
- Your job is to create well-rounded, engaged, creative, hard-working, civically minded, moral, and compassionate learners. Your job does not exist to fulfill your personal needs for power and control.
- Teachers and principals are not the enemy. Treat them as professionals who know what they are doing.
- Stop micromanaging.
- Work hard to create uninterrupted time for teachers to collaborate. An hour a day of prep time is not enough.
- Recognize and accept that you don’t have all the answers. Ask questions and keep an open mind.
- Always consider the viewpoint of the students, parents, and teachers. They are the most important people in the organization.