October has arrived. The September Honeymoon that starts a new school year has passed as the autumn leaves begin to change.
A cornerstone of middle school is change. Change is inevitable, and it seems to be almost a daily challenge in students’ lives. It is one reason many adults do not look back with fondness on their middle-school years: there just seems to be too much of it. New teachers, new classes, a new locker, new ways to use and experience technology, and, of course, new physical challenges to list just a few. Change during these years while not embraced should be leaned into. There are just too many exciting positives that are missed if one does not; even from the challenges.
Whether young or old, established routines are how the brain makes sense of life in order to navigate the day-to-day challenges of change. But there is a balance. If one settles too much into those routines, the potential positives that come from change can go untapped, and new opportunities, passions, and learning can be missed. Psychologists call this Identity Foreclosure, and it can seriously limit an adolescent when finding that sense of self. In other words, it is a time to seek the challenges.
Middle-schoolers develop their identities over these years, and while they adopt different traits and qualities from their family and relatives, their peer group begins to become more influential. When I was young, I was told that I would become who I hung around, and that is actually is true. But what also is true is that a lot of that change comes from within the individual and how she or he responds to the changes. People are built for change, we are resilient and capable, and despite if the challenges are few or many, students do make it through, most often with confidence and ready for even more at the high school.
At Spectrum Middle School, we continue to develop ways to keep the changes coming, to offer opportunities in and out of the classroom, to create experiences that can lead to surprising outcomes: I never liked reading before; I am so happy that I tried the extracurricular activity; and I never knew I could do that with my Chromebook until this year. These surprises can be uncomfortable and there are most definitely frustrations as one finds her/his voice, but that is how the cornerstone is created.
October is here. Good struggle (frustration) has begun, and change is upon us. Look for an upcoming survey to provide us with feedback on how to collaborate as SMS embraces these changes. Their influence in shaping each of us has begun already this year.
Weeks in Review
- Wednesday, October 6: Student-athlete Eligibility Suspension
- Friday, October 8: Alice scenario training