The Ponce Review
Is It Harder to Be a 6th Grader This Year?
Written by: Brooklynn Martin-Warr, 7th Grade
September 1, 2022
New changes at Ponce de Leon Middle School have left 6th graders overwhelmed! We were all scared when we first went to middle school, but with the recent changes in the schedule, it became harder for everyone, and it has dramatically affected the sixth graders. Many of them find negative and positive effects. In Ms. Mesa's 6th-grade class, three students have been vocal about their experiences so far. To them, it is a tremendous sudden change, and they are still getting used to it. The new students have a lot of conflicting feelings, and some felt that even though there were improvements, they still had some negative effects.
There are many that have positive responses, where it seems that the changes were going well. One sixth grader shared why she enjoyed being independent, "It's making it kind of easier because I like to work by myself, and in elementary, I had to work together in a team, and I have always worked better on my own" she explained. Then, another student put it simply and stated, "It's good because you can get to know more topics! " Another student showed why he appreciated having more teachers than in prior years but expressed concern about homework. He proceeded to say, "It's a lot different and better because like these teachers know their subject more and they can teach us specialties. However, it's a lot of homework." Which brings us to the topic of balancing a heavy workload. Once they get home, students have trouble coping with assignments and free time. The IB learner profile “balanced” is definitely something these young explorers expressed they wanted to learn about to be able to have equal work and play. Most students expressed distress in their new daily workload; one shared, "I can't really talk to my friends as much or do a lot more after. I can't do a lot more after my homework cause then I have to eat and then do some more." He was not the only one who said they could not speak with their friends. The following sixth grader advised, "Being so tired, to be honest like I don't know, I don't talk to friends that much anymore, 'cause I gotta do homework, I don't do the things I enjoy 'cause you know after like the workload, is just too much." One student stated she knew she was expected to do more now, "the workload is a bigger workload, and they expect a lot more of you so they're challenging you a lot more." She felt the sudden hit as we all did when we went in to sixth grade.
Lastly, new sixth graders expressed conflicting feelings about lunch. One states that, "I actually had a 10-minute lunch, and I used to have 30 minutes; yeah, it's a big change, and usually I'm really hungry when I get home.” A common theme is the students learning to eat faster which can be a skillful trait. The following student said, "it actually good when I get ten-fifteen minutes for lunch because I eat faster." However, many have different opinions on lunch.
In conclusion, sixth graders are all experiencing the same inconveniences and benefits; they are excited and a tad bit anxious for the coming years. If you are a new student at Ponce, just know that eventually, you will find your rhythm and people. Everyone is going through the same thing or has, so feel free to talk about it with your classmates, teachers, counselors, and even upperclassmen. Go, Explorers!