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Top Fears Fretting those Fresh Middle School Faces

Middle School.  A time in our lives that MOST adults would prefer to forget. Often, middle school years are filled with awkwardness, anxiety and insecurity.

As a sixth grade teacher in a middle school, back to school means a new crop of of 'wet behind the ears' middle schoolers arriving with their own set of fears.  Yet what IS it that they fear most?  If we could get inside the head of our incoming students, what DO they worry about and how can we allay those fears this fall?

Here are a few frets that fresh faced middle schoolers have and tips on how to assuage those fears:

#1.  The DREADED Locker Combination

For many middle schoolers, this is the first time they are using a locker that contains a combination lock.  Students worry about losing their combination, being able to complete the combination correctly (believe it or not, they all don't know left from right yet!), and they struggle with being able to lift the latch to open that locker.

To help students:

-provide the combination on a small colored sheet of paper, remind them NOT to put it in their pocket!
-place gentle left/right reminders on the walls above the lockers.
-show a combination lock video to students prior to attempting the actual locker combination. Have them mime their combination in the air along with the video.
-use this $.99 iOS app to help students practice their combination.  ❤️❤️❤️Upon discovering this app, I LOVED reading the testimonials.  They were written by actual middle students that used this app to help practice their locker skills.  ❤️❤️❤️

#2.  Getting Lost

While in elementary school, students remain in the same room for the majority of the day.  Middle school presents a whole new scenario where, for the most part, students travel from class to class.  This is incredibly nerve-wracking for incoming students as they fear not being able to find their way around and/or being late for class.  To calm students nerves, try providing a tour for students to get familiar with the building.  Here's a great one for you to customize to your school.

#3.  Making Friends/Fitting In

Entering a new school with many unfamiliar faces (students AND teachers) can cause some students to become nervous.  Needless to say, greeting students warmly and providing plenty of 'getting to know you'  or Ice Breaker activities helps pave the way towards a welcoming atmosphere and creating new and lasting friendships.  

Good luck to all my fellow teachers getting ready to start the school year and remember the importance of: