Bridging the Primary/Middle School gap: 2

This is a response by Stephen Davis , a  middle school teacher in Orange County, California, to the previous post Letter from a primary school student.

Letter to a primary school student from a middle school teacher…

Thank you for the letter you sent me!  I will work hard to incorporate your suggestions into my class. I thought I would give you some realistic expectations for the beginning of your middle school experience.

Just like a carnival, your elementary school is small and most of the activities are focused on you.

At a carnival and your elementary school almost everything is designed to make you smile and laugh even though you are learning.

There is plenty of space to walk around at a carnival and your elementary school.  For the most part, you can see all the attractions at carnival in one night due to its size.

Elementary schools are different than middle schools just like carnivals are different than amusement parks.

Middle school is like an amusement park, offering many things to many different people. If you want to get scared, there are rides for you.  If you want to get wet, there are rides for you. If you want to go on the “kiddy” rides, there are “kiddy” rides for you.

But there are many rides and attractions that you will not be able to get to because of time.

Middle schools and Amusement parks are big and require great amounts of dodging people who are not paying attention where they are walking.

Oh, and the lines; the lines are boring.


Once you are on the ride, going up the first hill of the Grade Abolisher (soundtrack by the Bower-Kohn’s), then racing towards the first of 21 loops and 12 barrel rolls, the distinct blend of fear and excitement are worth every minute waiting in line.

That is what it is going to be like in middle school.

There will be many extended times of boredom, however, if your willing to be patient and get on the ride, you will eventually be rewarded with new information that will help you find out who you really are.

There are too many things for me to tell you before your first day of middle school; however, here are a few things you can do to make the transition easier:

– Each teacher has close to 200 students, they may not learn you name right away, please do not get offended.

– Most students in grades above you are too interested in themselves to bully you.

– Organization is very important and needed!  Use a calendar, daily agenda, or binder reminder your school gives you – DAILY and EVERY PERIOD!

– Many teachers will use sarcasm in their classrooms, do not take it personally.  Look up the word sarcasm.

– Do not be afraid to take academic risks.  If you happen to get teased by other students, they will forget soon.

– Many middle school teachers love “nuance”…look up this word and try to find nuance in your lessons as much as possible.

– Everyone is just as nervous as you are about changing clothes in the locker room for PE.

– Please ask questions…please ask questions…please ask questions

'Swings above the boardwalk' photo from flickr by joiseyshowaa (in my cartoon)


2 thoughts on “Bridging the Primary/Middle School gap: 2

  1. Brilliant! What a great response to your letter Edna. The analogy of the carnival and amusement park is a good one. Thank you for posting the response for all of us to read and consider!


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