MMS-Building Relationships

Posted on 09/23/2021

Relationships are the Key at MMS
By:  Julie Lower, MMS Principal

Middle School age is tough, there’s no way around it.  During the middle-level years, kids are going through life with one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood.  It’s hard for them and hard for their parents! Parents often say they wonder what has happened to their sweet child.  Our students are in a stage of human development in which they’re trying to figure out who they are and what they’re all about.  Their brains are developing at a fast rate, as fast as they developed through the toddler stage.  They’re going through physical changes and emotional changes they don’t always understand or like for that matter.  And the educators at Mexico Middle School have the awesome pleasure of helping raise them through it!  It’s a tough job, but we’re up to the challenge.  Our job at MMS isn’t just to educate students with the core curriculum and elective experiences, it’s to help navigate our kids to grow through the toughest years of their life academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. 

How do we do that? …by doing our very best to develop strong relationships with each and every one of them, and to help them build solid working relationships with their peers as well.  We have purposeful activities to build a caring community within our building and within each classroom.  Relationship-building during the first two weeks of school is critical. In addition to teaching their classroom expectations and procedures, teachers incorporate many mixer activities during that time to get to know their students and let their students really know them and each other.  After doing these activities daily during the first few weeks of school, we continue that undertaking of building strong relationships that include mutual trust and respect through what we call team-builders.  A team-builder is a structured activity where students must work together to solve a problem or reach a common goal.  Teachers put in extra effort to plan and facilitate fun team builders at least once every other week to keep the sense of community strong in their classrooms. 

Walking through MMS classrooms at the beginning of the year is quite interesting and heart-warming.  You never know what relationship-building activity you’re going to see! A great example is from a favorite activity in 6th-grade science last week.  Mrs. Amanda Rowe had small groups of students leading a blindfolded teammate in a race to put together a 20-piece jigsaw puzzle. The kids had a blast trying to figure out how to effectively communicate with their teammates to get that puzzle put together.  They worked through problem-solving together to get the job done, communication skills were fine-tuned, and relationships were solidified in the process.  Our hope is to make the dreaded middle school years not only bearable but as enjoyable as possible.  We want our students to remember our school as a place they grew up and were loved through it.