Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Middle School Orientation

This can't be right. My daughter starts middle school in September?  I am pretty sure that I just dropped this kid off at 4K the other day:

And now I have this:

Her dad and I took her to middle school orientation last night. In our district, middle school is 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I have been careful not to tell my daughter how much I hated middle school, because I want her to have a positive experience. It is going to be a HUGE change for her.  Here is the part that scares me the most:

She'll be in class a full hour and a half earlier than she is now. As I might have mentioned once or six thousand times, she is not a morning person. The three-minutes-between-classes thing scares me, too. I'm worried that by the end of the first year, I'll be able to wallpaper our living room in tardy slips.

As part of the orientation, all of the 5th graders and parents were ushered into the auditorium to get a rundown from one of the guidance counselors. She explained what classes the kids have to take and gave tips on being successful in middle school. Then, a panel of 8th graders answered questions. There were a lot of questions that I wouldn't have thought to ask. Can you chew gum? (Depends on the teacher)  Can you take a backpack to class? (No) Are hats allowed? (No) Why are there two cafeterias? (They each serve different stuff.) There is a lot to know.  My daughter seems more excited than worried at this point.

Then, we walked through the cafeteria where there were displays set up to advertise different extracurricular activities.  My kid is already signed up for Choir and is anxious to get involved in theater, too.  I noticed that she walked right past the display for the Math Club without even pausing.

I was happy to see some of the things the school has put in place to help incoming 6th graders get acclimated.  For example, at lunchtime, 6th graders only eat with other 6th graders. I would imagine that this will be less intimidating for them and, possibly, cut down on bullying.  It sounds like they generally keep the 6th graders together as much as possible.  Also, they are offering some summer programs.  There is a three-day session in August called Middle School Matters, where they give the kids a chance to practice opening their lockers, learning their way around the school, etc. I've signed the kid up for that. Also, they are offering some fun summer sessions with stuff like "Babysitting basics."  So, I signed her up for a couple classes. She wants to do a Minecraft class and a bread-baking class. I think that will give her another opportunity to be inside the school and get her bearings. The school itself is huge compared to the one she attends now.  When the tour guide brought us back to where we'd started, I actually had no earthly idea how we'd gotten there.

During the tour, the kid and her friend walked as far away from their parents as they could get. This might be because I had mentioned that her dad and I might get the urge to square-dance during the orientation. I didn't do anything too embarrassing . . . as far as I know.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to have a good cry over all of this growing-up business.

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