A new parent at an independent school once asked a long-time school leader, “How is your school preparing students for jobs in the future that don’t yet exist?” For an educator who had grown accustomed to impressing parents with discussions of a challenging curriculum, college acceptance lists, and extracurricular opportunities, I found this to be a truly thought-provoking question. Clearly, this parent was not content to hear a rehearsed response. And so the educator explained to the parent that the school’s program and curriculum merely served as the vessel through which students could become creative, independent thinkers who would be prepared to jump into any job or become entrepreneurs by applying skills rather than merely recalling content and facts.
Middle school education has been reduced to a number of stereotypes for too long. What is considered to be one of the most critical time periods in a child’s life is often overlooked as “lost” time of awkward transition from childhood into the teen years. In fact, it’s far more than just a transitional period between elementary and high school education. How a child experiences this time period can shape the way he or she performs in high school, college, and beyond. Through the right kind of parenting and education, students can take this as an opportunity to gain resilience and independence -- two important skills that will have an impact on the rest of their lives.