8 tips for junior high success from a retired teacher

By Shannan Younger


Parents of tweens often wonder what they can do to help their kids be successful middle school or junior high students. To provide insight, I’ve called in a pro, today’s guest blogger, Kathy Mathews. After 35 years of teaching Spanish and French at the junior high and high school levels, she has decades of insight into adolescents and their parents and I’m so grateful that she’s sharing it.

I just saw my first saw back to school ad.  Back when I was a full time teacher my reaction to the first back to school commercial was different than it is now.  Then, I thought more about myself and what I needed to do to get myself ready for a new school year.  Today, I thought about parents out there whose children are in or starting middle school.  As a former teacher I would love to offer my advice on how to help your child get ready for and succeed in those Junior High years.  Here are 8 tips to make your child more successful in middle school.

1. School supplies – There probably will be a list suggested by the school.  If you decide not to follow it, do your child a favor and don’t denigrate the items or the creators of the list.  If you choose not to send in the Kleenex or the paper towel just don’t send it in.  If you make snarky remarks about why you are not, your child will probably repeat those to the teacher. The teacher will feel sorry for your child and wish you hadn’t provided that example.

2. Back to school clothes – I used to be in charge of dress code compliance on my teaching team.  I would say to the students, “Think to yourself would I want to see Ms. Mathews in this outfit? If the answer is no, then I don’t want to see you in it either.”  In other words, Mom and Dad, don’t choose something inappropriate for school, keep those clothes for when they visit your parents.

3. Talking about teachers – Anything you say about your child’s teacher will probably be reported by your child in school.  I know you are thinking, “Not my child.”  Yep, your child.  Make your comments reflect your best self. We are all in this together, we all want your child to learn. Continue reading