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Sending Your Preteen to Middle School for The First Time? Teacher May Know Best with These 5 Tips

Atlanta Black Star has launched a weeklong Back to School series to help parents and students prepare for the milestones in their educational journey. Join the conversation and share your own tips on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Middle school may seem like a whole new world to students.

One year, they’re sitting in one teacher’s classroom for much of the day, and the next, they’re hopping from class to class some four times a day.

Adjusting can be intimidating, but not impossible.

Atlanta Black Star caught up with James Pressley, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Atlanta’s Wesley International Academy, for his top tips to help students in their pre-high school years.

Junior high student uses computer
A junior-high student uses a computer. (Photo by Getty / Stock photo)

Best back-to-school tips for middle school students:

1. ‘It’s not lame to ask questions’

Many students think they have to fit in by being the cool kid that does nothing in class but goof off. That’s just not true. The students who ask for help or for a better understanding of instructions are the ones who excel throughout middle school.

2. ‘Be prepared for a little more freedom’

Teachers are not walking your child to class in a single-file line in middle school. Students will need to know where to go and when to be there, and they will be held accountable if they skip class. Teachers check attendance in each separate class, not just once at the beginning of the day.

3. ‘Try to keep things organized’

Middle school students may have homework for three or four different classes a night. Make sure your child keeps up with assignments and where to place them when finished.

A five-subject notebook may come in handy.

Just don’t expect a pass if your child doesn’t turn in homework. Teachers may have 80 other papers to grade, and they may just give your student a lower grade for being late.

4. ‘Studying may take more than 15-20 minutes like it did in elementary school’

Expect classwork to get harder and for quizzes and tests to get more challenging. In some cases, an A on an exam may require an hour or more of studying to prepare.

5. ‘Don’t expect a phone call home every time you are ever out of line’

Most middle school teachers will take behavioral consequences into their own hands before calling home. These consequences may be detention or in-school suspension, which often remain on your student’s academic record. So to avoid even the thought of dealing with that, encourage your child to stay a scholar.

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