Dear Parents – I’m Sorry For What I Said When I Taught Middle School

I loved teaching 7th Grade so much! 12 to 13-year-olds understand my humor better than most (not sure what that says about me) and I thought it was such a great time to get kids excited about learning math again.

That being said they also aren’t always easy to love – especially at home. So I sat in more than one parent meeting offering advice, telling parents about “homework time”, supporting their pre-teen, and all kinds of other nonsense that I thought was super helpful at the time.

As the mom of a middle schooler now I’d like to apologize for everything I said. Turns out I know nothing about raising preteens! After surviving the first month of middle school I’d like to apologize for a few things.

I’m sorry I thought you didn’t buy them paper.

I have already bought 5 packs of filler paper. None of it has made it into a notebook yet. It lives in his backpack until it becomes so crumpled it’s unusable. I’m sure he tells his teacher I don’t buy him any paper just like your kid told me.

I’m sorry I didn’t help them with their locker more.

Don’t get me wrong – I helped them learn to open their locker and unjammed it when it wouldn’t open but I didn’t really help them learn to use it. I didn’t explain enough about what to get and when, how to keep it organized, and how to check yourself to make sure you had what you need. Day 4 of school I had to make Jackson a checklist for the inside of his locker so he knew what in the world he was doing. I should have done that for your child.

I’m sorry I told you to have structured homework time.

I believe I even said, “even if they don’t have homework have them do something academic during that time”. Our evenings are a DISASTER. Jackson doesn’t get home from football practice until 7:00 (and later if they have a game). Our structured homework time usually goes like this “Jackson let’s rush through your homework while I shove dinner down your throat and you shower all at the same time”. All the while he is crying because he wants to be outside playing with his friends. I should have just told you to do whatever you can to survive (and not assigned any homework).

I’m sorry I didn’t keep you more updated on what was happening at school.

I know middle school is the time of independence and I treated it that way. I began to encourage kids to email me about missing assignments, questions about work, and other issues instead of their parents. I wanted my students to be the leaders in their learning (and I want that for my son too). But I do miss knowing more about what’s happening and being a more active part in school and what’s going on.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you more how awesome your child is.

Middle school is hard. Middle school parenting is harder. You are doing a great job and I know that because I got to spend 7.5 hours a day with your child. As a parent, I feel like I am failing a lot. I see the attitude, the not wanting to do homework, and the power struggle. I don’t see him asking questions, engaging with his peers, and being a positive active kid at school. I should have told you more about all the good that was happening at school so you could hear just how awesome the human you are raising is.

I’m sure there are a lot more things that I haven’t even realized yet that will come to me as our middle school experience continues. For now, I will keep learning and struggling. Most days I am positive that teaching 120 middle schoolers was way easier than raising 1 of them. When I return to the classroom one day I will surely be a better teacher and more understanding now that I truly understand the parent’s perspective.

I’m really sorry for what I said before I knew.

4 thoughts on “Dear Parents – I’m Sorry For What I Said When I Taught Middle School

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BLOG POST. I am soooo mortified by the insanely dumb things I said prior to having a child when I still thought I knew everything about parenting. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this.

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