Every year thousands of students graduate 8th grade and transition to High School. Middle School teachers work hard to prepare them, and hope that their student will have what they need to succeed. The question is, what are the skills that best prepare a student to succeed in high school? As a current 8th grade teacher, I know that is a hard question to answer. However, from my own expertise as a former High School teacher, I would say that the skills most needed to succeed in High School are: individuality, self advocacy, and resilience.
In High School students cannot be scared to stand out! They must be encouraged to be known, and to express their likes and dislikes. The more comfortable they are in who they are, the more they will value themselves, and speak out for their rights. In High School the rights and needs of a student can go unnoticed in a crowd of teenagers and overworked teachers. These rights, include: the right for extra time, or notes from the last class, changing your seat so you can see better, as well as others.
In preparation for High school it is important to visit the school in order to meet the people. It a good idea to know the names of the teachers and staff. When a problem occurs, you will know who to talk to. It is also good idea to have these names written down in a student reminder. The next step is to know where the principals office and vice-principals office are. It important that the student can feel comfortable to walk into their office and ask for help in regards to problems they may feel teachers have not listened to.
Students need to know they can fail, and they must not expect perfection. They need to become a ball and learn to bounce back up. Through time, a student will see that trying and failing is not the end of the world, but apart of learning. We must encourage and nurture a spirit of resilience in our students. In nurturing a spirit of resilience a student will develop the ability to see experiences as learning and get back up.
I truly hope that I continue to encourage these tools in my students. I want to celebrate every time they ask me a question or disagree with me! The more they speak up the more prepared I know they will be!