Middle School Students Force You to do Better

January 12, 2017

Dear Families,

Well, I blew it! It’s not the first time. It won’t be the last time.  But I definitely dropped the ball. During the break, I decided to identify topics I wanted to cover in my Thursday Wire updates.  On my schedule, I identified that this week’s letter would address the importance of ownership. Who knew I would provide first-hand examples from my own life? Who am I kidding? Given the law of averages, I’m confident I could have predicted it.

I love middle schoolers. Period. No exception. I would fight to the death for them. I will willingly challenge anyone who suggests that they lack importance or significance. I struggle mightily when people disregard them. I understand that they can be difficult to understand at times. Often, their absentminded behavior creates struggle and frustration. But I relate to them on many levels. Background on who I am may serve to give you a clear picture of just why they have my heart.

I struggle mightily with talking to adults. I do. Truly, I do. Each and every day, I enjoy the opportunity to grow in this area. Other than flying, this is my greatest fear. I battle ADD. Every. Single. Day. My staff and students can confirm this. While my mistakes can occur for a variety of reasons, typically they result when my ADD is in overdrive. Thus, I bring you this week’s example of the importance of ownership.

Before I share, please note the following detail.  I provide this example in order to demonstrate that I try as best as I can to, as Dr. Maya Angelou said, live my teaching. I do not provide it for any other reason.  After the middle school drama department presented Anne Frank, I wrote individual notes to the cast and crew. I created a checklist, wrote the notes, and delivered them to the students involved.

I created the checklist because I know my brain and my struggles. Despite my best efforts, I dropped the ball. My fear that someone would be left without a note of appreciation was realized. I can predict with 99.9% accuracy what went wrong. I checked the name before I wrote the note-a fatal flaw for me given my ADD.  My past errors predict that after checking the name, I got distracted by who knows what. Truly, it could have been anything. When my focused returned, my check mark led me astray. The result, I overlooked a student.  It would be an understatement, not a hyperbole, to say that I am horrified at my mistake.

Rest assured. I will publically correct my mistake among the students. I want them to see ownership modeled starting with me. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Ms. Grace Nelson. She served on the Anne Frank crew. She, along with the rest of the crew, spent hours working to help the production go off without a hitch! Thank you, Grace, for your hard work and effort. Well Done! I apologize deeply, Grace, for my oversight!

I respectfully request, that as a family, you spend time discussing the importance of ownership. Model it. Embrace it. Find freedom in it. I once read a quote that said, “Surround yourself with people who force you to do better!” I choose middle schoolers. They call a spade a spade. But they respect authenticity. They really do. I love them for keeping my integrity intact!

Honored to Serve You All,

Janet Worley


Food For Thought: How to Create a Culture of Accountability in Your Home

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