What Do Kids Think On The First Day of Middle School?

Posted on August 26, 2015 by

Summer is finally over. Parents are secretly smiling as they shoo their kids out the door, snap a few first day of school photos and sigh. Yes, some of you might shed a few tears over the passage of time and the impending high school graduation – even if it’s still five years away. And some of you try to walk your kids to their first class in middle school (a big no-no) and even more of you hover in the parking lot or your local coffee shop and quietly wonder what’s happening to your kid inside the walls of their 7th and 8th grade classrooms.

As I start my 25th year of middle school, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek. And one thing your kids say might just be true: the first day of school can be a real snoozer. Far too many teachers fill their first moments with kids drilling them with rules and consequences, with syllabi and seriousness.

Fortunately, I came to my senses and gave that up long ago. Middle school is about relationships. It’s about smiling, about showing you care, and letting kids know that school can actually be fun – even when it’s not lunch or passing period.

On the first day of school, I like to mix it up and actually do an activity that gets kids thinking, analyzing and moving straight away. One of my favorites is called “Post the post it on the poster”.

My motivation here is two fold: I want kids to know what I’m thinking about as I start the year, and I also am surreptitiously watching how they move, who they gravitate towards and of course, how they respond to my questions.

How would you answer these?

middle school teachers

One of my favorite (and most common) responses: little did I know I’d have to channel my inner entertainer when I began teaching middle school!

middle school teachers

Do you think this kid is serious, or just trying to make nice with the new teacher?

middle school teacher

No, this wasn’t the “what kind of a teacher do you want” question – this one was about what kids should be doing in the classroom. Ha ha!

middle school kid advice

I love when they tell me what to do – and boy, do they love to tell me…

middle school teacher advice

And yes, they definitely have their priorities straight about why they’re there:

middle school

Of course, I have to bring it back around to the beginning of the year, and have them think about themselves (middle school kids LOVE to think about themselves!):

middle school goal setting

No pressure, huh? Can you believe how many of them set goals around their grades? Is that their parents talking?

middle school goals

This one was my favorite. I wish I knew who wrote it, but then again, it doesn’t really make much difference. Be the best we can be. Be open to new things. If we can accomplish that goal, we’re going to have an amazing year.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Comments: 2

  • Shahzad

    November 29, 2023

    “Your insight into the first day of middle school is refreshing! Creating an engaging atmosphere centered on relationships is key. The “Post the Post It on the Poster” activity is brilliant for fostering connection. Love the humor and wisdom in the students’ responses. Wishing you an amazing 25th year!”

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