Middle school is a difficult period of growth and change for students. Not only are they experiencing changes in their body, but expectations in school are also changing. Students have recently grown out of their elementary school routines and are experiencing more responsibility. With more difficult content, kids may begin to struggle with their academic abilities. Not only that, but middle school brings on a new sense of independence. According to Psychology Today, most students go through spurts of social insecurity and emotional vulnerability. As teachers, our job is to equip our students with skills and strategies that will allow them to be academically and emotionally successful. Here are four different ways to build confidence in your middle school students or child!
1. Build Confidence With Encouragement
There have been studies on the brain that show a correlation between encouragement and motivation. Students of all ages positively respond to encouragement and affirmation. In an age that brings on self-consciousness, affirmation is a way to encourage kids to keep working hard. Parenting Science says that experiments show kids can benefit from simple and cheerful messages. Simple encouraging messages can motivate students to keep trying and to trust themselves. Academics become more difficult in middle school and that can leave students to feel worthless. If a child is encouraged while they are working on a difficult task, they are more likely to keep trying. If they feel validated by their teacher, it is less scary to try and fail. Students become more willing to work hard if they feel confident in themselves.
2. Build Confidence With Positivity
Maintaining a positive relationship with students is a way to build their confidence. Whether you maintain a positive classroom community or provide encouraging words, students will thrive. Think of it like this. Would you be willing to potentially embarrass yourself in a room full of strangers you do not know? No way! You would do everything to avoid that. Unfortunately, that is how some students feel walking into the classroom. If a student feels isolated or alone, they will be less willing to try. As teachers, we know that students learn from their mistakes. That is how people make progress. If we fail, we keep trying until we get it right. If a student is too concerned with embarrassing themselves, they will not try in academics or social situations. If you spend time creating a positive classroom community, all kids will benefit. Not only that, but they will be more likely to try, even if that means failing.
3. Focus on Organization
Organization is a skill that builds as a child gets older. In elementary school, there is a large focus on knowing where your materials are and practicing ownership. When students transition into middle school, they are greeted with an entirely new routine. Most students have more than one teacher for their academics and have a heavier workload. One way to set children up for success is to implement concrete organization skills. Students will feel prepared for class if they know what to expect and have their supplies. Training students in organization is simple and effective. If you practice this consistently, students will grow more confident in their abilities.
Middle school is a time where children are trying to find their niche. They have outgrown elementary school, but are not quite at the high school level. Students may feel awkward in their bodies or self-conscious about social status. Creating an environment where every person is accepted the way they are, will boost morale. Every student is different. Their academic needs are different, along with personalities and styles. If the school community is welcoming, students will begin to grow confident in themselves. Ways to show acceptance are encouraging students in what they are interested in. This can mean providing time for students to express themselves in whatever way possible. Allow students time to work independently on something that interests them or ways to release energy. If students have the opportunity to express themselves, while being accepted, their confidence will skyrocket.
More than anything, practicing these skills along with empathy and patience, will provide students the confidence they crave. No matter the environment or child, there is always an opportunity to build confidence with them. At The Tenney School, we are dedicated to supporting and building our students up. Our one to one student-teacher ratio allows students to receive individualized teaching at all times. Our ratio is the shortest distance between your child’s education and excellence. Our teachers build confidence in our students each and every day through instruction, rapport, and community. For more information on building your middle schooler’s confidence, visit us online here. For more information on our school or to schedule a campus visit, call us at (713) 783-6990 today. Come discover the power of one at The Tenney School.