Monthly Archives: June 2020

Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2020

Middle School was what I swore I never wanted to teach, and yet after teaching there a few years in the beginning of my career and then spending the last nine years in the classroom with that age group, I was so wrong. I know firsthand that Lizabeth was a gifted teacher, because we actually taught in the same middle school for almost 9 years before I retired.
Today, I am still the Producer/Founder/CEO of a non-profit performing arts company, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and using so many of Lizabeth’s successful techniques in both teaching and working with parents. Even though she wrote them with middle school in mind, they are very applicable to late elementary through high school. Middle School Years Without Tears is a book every middle school parent needs to read. In fact, I will recommend it to every parent whose child is in my company. Lizabeth sets the stage in Chapter 1 by answering some important questions parents have as their child approaches grades 6-8. “What is MS, why do we have it, who are the teachers, why do they want to teach these kids, who is a MS student, what is their (teachers and students) day like, and finally lying (to themselves, their teachers, and parents)?” Lizabeth nailed the answers and certainly will open your eyes as a parent/teacher. She said it, and I have said it to my parents over and over again, middle school is not the time to walk away from your child and act like they are adults. They may push you away, but learn how to communicate with them.
That brings me to the 2nd section of her book that I feel is critical to all situations-communication! Lizabeth addressed every person regarding communication-what to say, how to say it, and when to say it! Wow! When I think back on all those years of teaching and the conferences I had-the good, the bad, and the ugly! The bad and ugly could have been so much more positive and productive if parents and students had a guide to follow back then. Well, today you have her book! Understand how important communication is and how it can positively affect your child. Mistakes are made every day, but we all learn that positive attitudes and expectations are the way through which we can make changes. I know the world today loves texts and emails, but I prefer face to face communication with all people interested in what is best for the child. That is another reason why everything Lizabeth lays out in this book works as long as every person wants the same outcome and is willing to work to make it happen.
In the world today, when we parents(yes, I am a parent to 2 adult children, and numerous other “adopted” former students and performers who refer to me as “dad”) have to help our child(children) overcome bullying, prejudice, and lack of self-esteem, Lizabeth shows us what to say to help them understand so they can move forward learning empowerment. She also points out how important it is to listen not only to what they are saying, but to what they are not saying. Parents and teachers have a very important role to know how children see themselves. Suicide is preventable if we are in tune with our children. Lizabeth has some real insight in this book about that topic.
I have given you some examples of how this book has influenced me both as a teacher and a parent. There are many self-help books on the market but Lizabeth’s “suggestions and strategies are based upon one premise: with loving parental guidance (not dictation), parents can empower their children to positively control and direct the events of their lives for the betterment of all instead of the events controlling their lives based on the understanding of Who We Really Are.”
Thank you, Lizabeth, for again giving parents a book that will surely help make those middle years rewarding and joyful!Chuck Long,
Professional Teacher


This is an excerpt from my book, Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences. 


Socrates had a good teaching protocol way back in the 300s BC. He encouraged learning through the questioning from his students. He drew answers out of thembecause he believed the answers were already inside of them. Socrates understood the satisfaction he could have regarding teaching was dependent on the satisfaction his students were having. It’s a symbiotic relationship: a relationship where both parties are benefit and neither is damaged.


Your child’s teachers may or may not be in synch with such a relationship. Your child’s teachers may not be anywhere near this understanding, but the fact remains, these are your child’s teachers so, how can you help your child have a positive experience with all of her teachers anyway? Here are some strategies and suggestions to do just that.



Your Student Communicates First

Encourage your child to communicate first with the teachers on his or her own before you, the parent, intervene. This promotes speaking up for oneself, learning how to communicate to a person in authority, and how to maintain positive relations regardless of a favorable outcome or not. Invaluable confidence can develop during such personal contact. The student learns to negotiate an issue, concern, or problem. A teacher may offer an alternative or compromise to the student’s request and this provides fertile soil for developing negotiating skills with others.


Before and during classes are the least effective and the least desired ways to go about communicating with teachers. Teachers are quite preoccupied at these times especially at the beginning of the lesson. It is to a student’s benefit to be wise about the timing and the approach. There are many commonsense, positive ways to do this.


  • Upon entering the classroom, a student can ask to speak to the teacher after class.
  • Upon entering the room, give the teacher a note regarding speaking to the teacher after class.
  • E-mail the teacher to schedule a time to talk.
  • Talk to the teacher during lunch.
  • Talk to the teacher during the teacher’s planning time with prior approval.


Approaching the teacher is just as important as the conversation itself. This teaches the importance of how to get someone’s attention so that what you have to say is heard well.



For additional strategies to guide your child to communicate well with his or her middle school teachers, read Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences. 




Okay…you’re LIVING the middle school experience along side of your kid. And, because of that, this book is for you! Just what is he doing all day? The facts are here…the realistic middle school descriptions written into this book just for you, the parents. As you read this book, you’ll feel like you are standing right there in the hallways of your child’s school. What is it like to be your daughter in middle school? How does she make it from class to class? The sights, sounds, AND smells are here awaiting your eyes to read…and experience.

After teaching middle school for 10 years, 14-time author, Lizabeth Jenkins-Dale brings the honest, no-holding-back truth of what it is like to be a middle schooler and a middle school teacher in today’s schools. This perspective gained will assist you to be the best middle school parent ever. With knowledge of what the experience is, you can be more understanding and supportive.

What does your middle schooler need after school? How to handle homework blues? What is personality experimentation and what are the benefits? What is the best approach when you catch your middle schooler lying? What options do you have when you find yourself in the principal’s office staring at another student’s parents over a classroom dispute? What is middle school common sense? What is the best way for you to speak about your child’s school to your friends, family, and your child? How can you guard your child from the barrage of requests to know his or her grades? What can you do about your child’s shortcomings? These questions and more are answered in this interactive book, which is packed full of useful information and strategies written by veteran educator and former middle school mom, Lizabeth Jenkins-Dale.

The Middle School Checklist!
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