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Middle School Study Skills

Ronald Said:

Middle school grades?

We Answered:

Even though your middle school grades don't "count" for colleges, it's the last chance you have before they DO start counting, so I applaud you for taking them seriously. Keep up the hard work! And your dad just wants to see you succeed now so you won't be overwhelmed by high school.

I know that it is sometimes scary to ask your teachers questions. But I am a high school teacher, and I have a secret for you...teachers LOVE it when students ask good questions! Teachers never expect a student to understand everything 100% the first time around (it's impossible!) so when you ask questions, it means that you are paying attention and thinking hard about what they are trying to teach you. Don't YOU like it when you know people are listening to what you have to say? :)

However, what teachers don't like is when students ask questions that prove that they have not been paying attention. They don't mind explaining something in more detail, but they don't like to have to repeat what they just said because someone was talking to their friend or zoning out. It would be like going home telling your parents a long story about something exciting that happened at school, and then the first thing they say is "So, did anything exciting happen at school today?"

When my students are struggling and ask for help, I want to see that they are doing their fair share of "trying" before I can give them any answers. So, when you ask your teacher questions, do you just say "I don't get it," and leave it at that? You have to be specific about what you don't understand.

Are you paying attention and doing all of the homework and reading? Looking in your book or notes for help? (Believe it or not, homework and class assignments aren't assigned just because the teacher "feels like it," but because they help you practice for the next day's class and for the tests.) Say to your teacher, "I understood when you said [X], but then when I went home to do the worksheet, I got stuck on [Y]. Can you explain this concept?" Another thing you can try is asking your teacher for study tips if you're having a hard time on the tests. They can tell you the best way to prepare.

If you are trying your absolute hardest in science and STILL don't get it, THEN maybe it's the time to see if you can do any extra credit. But, it's not fair to ask for that if you're not doing all the other stuff the teacher assigns to the best of your ability.

Be honest with your dad about your grades and why they are. Maybe your dad can help you talk to your teacher if she is difficult to deal with (But please, don't use the word "bipolar" unless someone really is medically bipolar) One C is definitely NOT the end of the world, especially when it's just an 82, but if you think you can be getting a B, then you should be getting a B! It's only going to get harder in the future, so all the hard work you do now will pay off, since you'll be ready for it.

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