I hope you are enjoying the fall weather and are excited for the upcoming fall festivities. One of the best things about fall in North Carolina is that you can actually be outside to experience it! Meanwhile, back in the classroom we are coming to the close of the first trimester, fall sports have ended, homework is becoming more routine and big projects and assessments are waiting in the wings. It is the natural rhythm of the school year, but nonetheless, it can cause anxiety for teachers, parents, and students alike.
In middle school most of what we do is help students to learn to manage these anxieties in a way that develops productive, self aware, and confident learners. While it may seem counterintuitive, it is often the failures during students’ middle school years that prepare them best for the rigors and higher stakes of high school and beyond.
This is the thesis of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey. The middle school faculty has just begun reading this book together in an effort to curate common understandings and language around our learning environment and how best to work with our students around the struggle of learning - especially as it relates to middle school. As the title of Chapter 8 connotes, middle school is a prime time for failure and the relief comes in accepting that fact and using it as an opportunity for growth in a relatively low-stakes setting.
I invite you to join us in our reading. Our goal is to complete the book by Jan. 4, 2016 and to shortly thereafter host a book club-style discussion among faculty and parents about how we can partner together to help support our children through these times of growth. Over the course of the next few months, I will be writing some reflections on the reading through my blog, Life in Grey and I welcome your comments.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.