Supporting Middle and High School Students
How many of us would choose to return to our early high school days--or worse yet, middle school? The transition into adolescence has been considered as the worst of times; according to early adolescent psychologist Gus Hall, a time of "storm and stress." Although prior to the 1960s the woes of adolescence garnered minimal research attention, the last three decades have been marked by massive attempts to investigate, describe, and understand this period. Adolescent years are permeated by anxiety, resistance, confusion, depression, and increased vulnerability to outside forces. Hormones are raging and orientation toward peers skyrockets. Most teens intensely wish to be like everyone else in terms of language, appearance, behaviors, likes, and dislikes. Self-concept, self-esteem, and egocentrism all run amuck. Complications related to family dysfunction, societal upheaval, and the advent of the information age prevail. In the midst of these internal changes, we transform the makeup and focus of school. We move from smaller to much larger settings, to inflexible schedules, more content-specific focus, multiple teachers with different rules, and rigid requirements for fitting in with increasingly important peers.