I Went Back To Middle School

Yesterday morning was the second annual Parent Shadowing Day at Cedar Springs Middle School, so I got to follow my daughter for a couple of hours. It was a little weird being back in middle school after 30+ years, but I had a lot of fun being with my daughter.

Here are a couple of thoughts on my day:

First hour band

  • Got to sit in my old section: percussion. It was all I could do to keep from jumping in on the marimba!
  • A little painful to listen to middle schoolers working their way through a song, but slowly Feliz Navidad and Greensleeves begin to emerge.
  • I love the way band teachers explain music verbally. Mr. Green said to the brass, “You’re supposed to start with a strong staccato ‘Tah!’ but you’re giving me a slurred ‘Blaaah.’”

Second hour computers

  • When I was in middle school we had precisely zero computers … in the whole building! Now each student is sitting at their own workstation.
  • I’m amazed at how fast these students are on the computer (but I’m still faster!)
  • Some kid just sneezed into the sleeve of his sweatshirt. Nice catch! He says, “Eww, gross!” I say, “Better your sleeve than your computer monitor!”
  • My overachieving daughter just completed her project that isn’t due for another two weeks!

Third hour writing

  • I used to dread going to writing class in middle school, but now I love writing. I’m thankful to Mr. Cochrane who encouraged and invested in my writing skills.
  • The class welcomed a new student who just moved to Cedar Springs. It’s got to be tough to be “the new kid.” I need to remember how that feels so I can make new people feel welcomed.
  • Cool! This class throws around a Koosh ball to help identify who’s supposed to be talking. It’s like having gym in writing class.
  • I love the peer-to-peer editing of each other’s research papers. They have to write down PATS: Praise, Ask a question, Tell something that sticks in their mind, and give a Suggestion. Encouraging encouragement is way cool.
  • The students here are much more quiet and respectful of their teachers than we were in middle school. I’m just saying….

Fourth hour science

  • Fascinating how a folded piece of pre-printed paper and a brass brad can help students learn the position of the sun relative to our latitudinal position in Michigan. And I’m amazed at how quickly the students grasp the concept.
  • We got to leave science early to wish student teacher Miss Nicki a fond farewell. She’s graduating and now looking for a full-time teaching assignment. We celebrated with Tootsie Pops.

What a wonderful experience. It’s so cool to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” I need to make that a more regular discipline in my life.

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