As usual with great trepidition I went to our local middle school's open house. I say with trepidition because I always worry about whether my girls will be a good fit with their teachers. Middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grade here) means just about a different teacher for each class. So instead of having one personality to work with there are anywhere from 5 to 7 different teachers, all with different styles.
Having two daughters in middle school also means that I had to pick and choose which teachers to go see as we had around 10 minutes in each classroom to meet the teachers.
When meeting my 6th grader's teachers what I found as a common thread was that the teachers really put an emphasis on respect for themselves and for the students. They also spoke of discipline and being prepared for class. I really felt that they wanted the best for my daughter and would give their all to give it to her. I left her classes feeling that she indeed would have a great year in 6th grade.
My oldest daughter is in 8th grade this year and taking all AP classes. She just made a very conscious decision to end her field hockey days as 3 games in one week (last week's schedule) was not helping her grades and she decided that those have to come first, a decision she made on her own and that was supported by DH and I wholeheartedly. I'm pleased that she was able to make this decision on her own by weighing the pros and cons. She has become quite the young lady over the past 3 years and is really becoming her own person and forming her own opinions.
Her teachers were a delight. They spoke of determination, hard work and again keeping on task and making sure that if there might be issues that the lines of communication are open. Even though I entered my daughter's algebra class wincing (algebra and I do not get along!), I left that classroom knowing that my daughter will be fine because her teacher will help her on her math journey.
My daughter is also taking French. This is her second year. What I did not realize is that her French classes are high school level. When she started talking about what language she wanted to take in 7th grade we talked about the merits of French over Spanish over German. I voiced my opinion that I thought Spanish was the way to go. She really wanted to take French so I decided to step back and let her loose. It was a great decision because she loves French and she's doing great. There are times when your kids actually know what's best for them.
I especially liked her social studies teacher. He asked us if the kids were coming home and talking to us about the discussions they were having in class. They are talking a lot about current events such as the mosque being built in New York City, the economy, etc. In discussing what is going on in the classroom with my daughter I am learning more and more about her and seeing how much she has actually listened to what I've said in the past and how it has shaped her opinions. Her social studies teacher has stated he does not voice his personal opinion in class. He encourages all the kids to voice their opinions in a polite way and to get them involved as they are going to become the leaders of tomorrow and they need to be informed.
So what started out in trepidition ended in respect and admiration for the teachers of the Dingman-Delaware Middle School. They are fighting the good fight helping to raise the next generation of movers and shakers. I look forward to working with them to make this the best school year ever for my girls.