Middle School Challenge

Lake Middle School had open house at 4-6 pm. I went with my kids after work.

Andy didn’t want to go at all. He said he had already been to Back to School kick off last Thursday, “Why do I have to go again? It’s a waste of time.”

I had to talk him into going, so we could meet his new teachers.

We listened to a brief presentation by a group of his core subject teachers. I still don’t remember who is who, but at least I have met them.

I filled out the emergency card and Andy bought a Lake t-shirt and shorts for his gym class.

That’s all we did.

After three months of break, Andy is not looking forward to school. I would be very excited to going back to school and learn new things, but he is not. That’s a concern.

I do hope that after he gets back to the routine of school life in a few days, he will like school and have a wonderful and successful school year ahead of him.

I think the middle school (or high school) environment in the US can be challenging for some young kids. They no longer have a home room where they take the same classes with the same group of students all the time, as it is in elementary schools. Now each student has his own schedule. He goes to different classes, his classmates are different in each subject class.

While there are advantages in individualizing every student’s schedule, I think there are also some disadvantages. One of them is lack of bonding between students.

From elementary school all the way through college in China, I had fixed classrooms with classroom teachers and the same classmates for each class. 

Even at college, most of my lessons at that time were in small classes with about 20 students. Over the four years of studying together and living in the same dorm together, we got to know each other really well and built a strong bond. We stay in touch long after graduation.

When I went to universities in Germany and the US, I had to select and take classes by myself. I lived off the campus and was a come-and-go student. I didn’t get to know any classmates who were different from class to class.    

Having no relationship with any classmates or teachers at either universities I went to in Germany and the US, I don’t feel any strong connection with either institutions.

When I think of my middle school and college in China, I feel a stronger connection, because I had a closer relationship with some classmates and teachers. Better connecting and bonding with people lead to closer association and bonding with institutions.

Our middle schools did try to create a more intimate environment by dividing students in each grade into two smaller houses, so they don’t feel totally lost and alone. It’s good to see some familiar faces wherever you go.

That’s the comment I heard a couple of time today. “Oh, good, our kids are in the same house. At least they know someone.”

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