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School & Grades
Are you having trouble in a certain subject or with a certain teacher at school? Are you nervous about an upcoming project, or going to a new school? Read what our Mentors and experts have to say about this topic.
Advice Topics:

Advice Questions about School & Grades:

  • GOI try to be fairly well organized. I keep both a weekly planner and monthly calendar. The only problem is this: I often forget to update both of them. In fact, I sometimes even forget that I actually have them. I am determined to write everything down in them and don't like the idea of keeping appointments and stuff in my head. Do you have any advice on how to remember to regularly update my planner and calendar?

  • GOI need to break my bad habit of procrastinating! I don't want to procrastinate when I hit 8th grade. How can I stop?

  • GOI'm having a problem. I'm missing assignments and permission slips and such, and I don't know why! My teacher says it's because I'm not very organized. How do I become organized?

  • GOI am starting a puberty chapter in my science class. The thing is that the puberty class has some videos about puberty. Worst of all, the boys and girls are going to watch and learn about it together. What should I do?

  • GOI am starting 7th grade next year, and I am real nervous about lockers. I know they can be a convenience, but how do I open a locker and how can I remember the combination? Any advice?

  • GOI'm starting middle school this year! I'm mostly excited, but a little nervous because I don't know anyone in my homeroom class yet. It seems like all my other friends are in the same homeroom class, and I'm kind of afraid that if they spend a lot of time together, they will forget about me and not want to be my friend anymore. Any advice? Thanks!

  • GOI'm going to middle school next year and I KNOW I'll hate every second of it! For some reason, since I've been reading books about it, I think girls will start talking about dating and boys will start asking girls out. It'll drive me nuts! And plus, NO RECESS! And what really doesn't help is that I'm in the Gifted Program and the Board of Education decided the middle school and elementary school should be put together for safety and convenience. So, I'll be tortured with NO recess while I watch little kids playing on the playground! How come there can't be recess in middle school? What should I do?

  • GOGrades mean a lot to people at my school. Kids are always saying things like, "What did you get for your science grade?" Everyone's so competitive and curious, it drives me crazy. What can I do?

  • GOI got my report card today, and my parents won't leave me alone. I got a D and two C's in math, and they expected me to get straight A's! They are screaming at me about how I don't work hard enough and that I'm spending too much time working on my writing, which I got an A+ in. They just don't understand because they both scored A+'s in every math subject there is, but they failed at any literature subjects. It's not like I don't try, it's just that it's harder then they think it is. They aren't the only ones pressuring me though. Now the entire school is hating me because I destroyed our straight A math roll. It's unfair. Everybody else is great at math and not literature, and it's the complete opposite for me! I want to let everyone else know that writing is still a talent, whether they like it or not, but they won't listen! What should I do?

  • GOI am going to a secondary school the size of a small airport. I'm disorganized and not a morning person. My bus will come at 6:40 in the morning! Any advice for organization, getting a good night's sleep, and how to deal with 7th grade?

  • GOIt's the end of the year, and everyone knows what that means...finals! And what comes with such testing is stress. My grades are all A's right now, and I know if I do poorly on the finals, I'll mess my grades up. I'd love to finish middle school with straight A's, but it's difficult! I took my first midterms this year, and I did okay on those. What can I do to lower my stress level and end middle school with a bang?

  • GOMy parents are grade freaks! Getting a B will usually get them disappointed in me. I stress because I know if I get a B I'll be in trouble. Getting a C will usually get them yelling at me. And I don't want to know what will happen if I get a D or and F. Then by getting such good grades to please my parents, kids pick on me! It's really stressful and puts a lot of pressure on me! Please, please, please help!

  • GOI'm going into 7th grade and I was so excited when I got my schedule but when I found out who was next to me (for lockers) I was freaking out, it was this girl who I REALLY don't like. To make it worse she's in pretty much all of my classes! She's with the popular crowd and if you mess with them things get ugly fast. What should I do?

  • GOI've read all your links about going into new schools, time management, if teachers don't like you, etc. It's helped a lot, but I'm still a little scared. At my school they have uniforms. But the uniforms are really dorky, and there are more boys than girls; it's a private school and I've lived in public schools all my life, I don't think I'm going to fit in!!!! It's also a lot smaller than my old school. Do you think gossip and rumors would travel faster because it's small? Could you give me some more tips on this kind of situation?

  • GOI am a smart person who studies, but when it comes to test day I know everything until the test hits my desk. How can I prevent losing all the information I studied all week?

  • GOThis year I just started high school. I dread going. Every morning before school, I feel sick and after school I worry about the next day. I don't want to go and feel like I would do anything to get out of it. I can't really be specific about what I'm afraid of! Getting lost in such a big school, being late, forgetting to do homework or study, and all sorts of things. I've been given advice about handling stress and have been told a million times everything will turn out okay, yet I still feel sick and nervous every school day. What can I do to make my "school sickness" go away? Please respond!

  • GOI'm finally going into high school. But when you're going into high school, you seem to be influenced to do things. I have a few friends who say that I spend too much time with my nose in a book and that I seemed depressed and I need to start dating. Truth be told, I have had a couple of guys look at me and ask me out. My parents don't think that I should rush into things, and I completely agree with them on that. But with me getting older, I'm wanting to get my first kiss and meet a nice guy that likes me back. But I need to keep my grades up, so I can go and visit my dad over the holidays, so I feel as if I don't have enough time for it all. Please...can you give me any advice on how I can work this out?

  • GOI have this really big problem about oral presentations in front of the class. I usually get so nervous that I cry, and it is very embarrassing! I NEED YOUR HELP!!! PLEASE!!

  • GOI'm in the sixth grade in elementary school and going to the seventh in a junior high school. What I am worried about is that I want to do volleyball and track, but I don't want to lower my grades by taking all my time doing sports. Right now I'm an A Honor Roll student, but last year I got into karate and my grades started lowering and lowering until I quit. So what should I do? I don't want to get a bad start. Thanks!

  • GOI'm in 5th grade and I really HATE doing any kind of homework! My mom is on my case about it all the time. I forget my books when I have to have them to study for tests the next day. I don't write down my assignments like I need to. She is always telling me to do these things but it seems like I can't remember any of it at the end of the day. I would rather be drawing or playing. She asks nicely for me to bring my books home, but I forget and then she gets upset, grounds me or takes the things I like away from me. I learn for a couple of days but then it's right back to forgetting.

  • GO"At school, we are learning about the male reproductive system. It's hard for me because I don't feel very comfortable, especially when the teacher says the body parts. What should I do? I know I have to know this lesson because there is a test."

  • GOI am in 7th grade, and I am in pre-algebra. At first, it was okay, but now we're getting into stuff like finding the surface area of a triangular prism, and I have no clue how to do that! I have always gotten straight A's, but we just took a test and I got 47% right! I told my mom and dad that I don't understand this, and that I need to go to regular 7th grade math, but they haven't done anything about it! I've even asked everyone in my family for help, but no one can do this math! What should I do?

  • GOI've always been really good in school with honors classes, and so have my friends, but now I am going to high school and I am afraid everything will become too hard, and I wont be able to have a balance between my social and school life with my family and work too. How will I be able to deal with all that? Please help.

  • GO"I always wait till the last minute to do a project. We have two weeks to do our report, then its due on Wednesday. I'm always up late Tuesday night finishing it. Please help me!"

  • GOInstead of hating my teachers, I really like them. My math teacher is really nice. I like her a lot. And she told my dad (who is a teacher at the same school) that I was kind-of a teachers pet to her. I go up to her classroom almost every day after school for one reason or another just to be there. See, there was this one teacher last year who helped me with this big problem with my friends, and my teacher this year has kind of the same personality. I keep on thinking about how I never want this school year to end because I like this teacher so much. It's kind of a hard situation. I guess what I am really asking is: is it okay to like a teacher this much? Should I let her know how much she means to me now, at the end of the year, or not tell her at all? Thanks for listening.

  • GO"I always turn in my math assignments, but my teacher always says that I didn't. What should I do?"

  • GO"I am a horrible math student. I really try, and I understand it when the teacher explains it, yet I always forget. Plus, I got a C. My dad says he'll ground me if I don't get a B. Anyway, he tries to help me with my homework, but he doesn't know how to do it either. How can I remember how to do the problems?"

  • GO"In my school, sixth grade is a part of elementary school. I heard scary stories about middle school, and my sister is no help. I am scared the eighth graders will use their size to bully me."

  • GOSamantha and Alexandria are both nervous about the jump from elementary school to middle school.

Dear IML,
I always turn in my math assignments, but my teacher always says that I didn't. What should I do?
--J.D., 11

An expert responds:
From Louise Janelle, M.Ed., School Counselor

Dear J.D.,
It must be very frustrating to complete an assignment and not get credit for the work you've done. Sometimes, teachers receive so much paperwork that some part of it can get misplaced. Although it may be a bit intimidating, ask to meet with your teacher. At the meeting, let her know how frustrating the situation is, and ask how you can get credit for the work you've done. There may be a simple solution to this problem which would not only get you the credit you deserve, but also help your teacher in her task of correcting the work.Good luck!

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear J.D.,
Your teacher saying he didn't receive your assignments can be a real problem, especially when it comes to your grades. Here are a couple solutions you can try:

  • When the teacher asks to collect papers, try to put the paper in your teacher's hand (instead of in a box or on his/her desk). Not only can the teacher not say he didn't receive your paper, but the class can verify that you gave it to him/her.

  • As a precaution, you can do your homework on the computer. Yeah, it may take a little more time, but you can save your homework and print multiple copies. When your teacher tells you he didn't receive your paper, you can say, "I did give it to you, but I have an extra copy."
If none of these solutions seem to help, consider telling a parent about what's going on. They can get help from the school to sort things out. Good luck!
--Tiffany, IML Mentor

This happened to me in 6th grade and it really frustrated me. I went and talked to my teacher, and every day I made a point to hand her my paper. At the end of class, I made sure she still had it. As long as I kept tabs on my work, nothing ever got lost.
--Lindsey, IML Mentor

Conflicts with teachers are common...here's more info on what to do when you keep thinking, "My Teacher Hates Me."


Dear IML,
I am a horrible math student. I really try, and I understand it when the teacher explains it, yet I always forget. Plus, I got a C. My dad says he'll ground me if I don't get a B. Anyway, he tries to help me with my homework, but he doesn't know how to do it either. How can I remember how to do the problems?
--Julie, 13

An expert responds:
From Josephine Schiff, MSW, LCSW, school social worker in Union City, NJ public schools

Dear Julie,
You sound like the type of person who cares about a lot of things. You care about your grades and you may also care a lot about pleasing your father (although when it comes to math, it may not be easy). Parents want their kids to do well and can sometimes put unfair pressures on them. How does it make you feel when your dad says he'll ground you? My guess is that you don't feel great. Julie, it's very important that you talk with your father about this. Read the Mentors' advice listed below. They offer practical tips on what you can do to improve your understanding of math. Show these tips to your dad and let him know what you plan on doing. Try asking your dad about his experience with math in school. You might find out that his experiences were similar to yours! Hopefully, by trying to understand your father's position on math, he'll be able to understand the difficulties you're having. Good Luck and let us know how things work out!

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Julie,
I have always had trouble with math. The thought of math makes me shiver. However, I've realized that there are plenty of resources at our disposal. Many, if not all, schools have some type of after-school/tutorial session for those who need help in particular subjects. I highly recommend that you attend one of these sessions. If your school doesn't offer this, some libraries may provide after-school/tutorial help. You might find that you like math after all! Good luck!
--Dexter, IML Mentor

Dear Julie,
I know how you feel about math! Whenever I learned something in math class, I always forgot how to do it when I got home. Consider meeting with the teacher outside of class. Ask your teacher if the two of you can figure out a certain time during the week, probably right before the test, where you can go over the problems with him or her. Another thing you can try is to take really organized notes in class. Write down the formulas step-by-step, so that when you come home, you can refer to your notes. You could also get a tutor. I used to have a tutor for years, and every time I met with her I got an A on the test! Maybe your school, friends, or parents know of a great tutor. Just remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! Good Luck and I hope it works out!
--Jenna, IML Mentor

Hey Julie,
Math is really hard and I totally understand what you're going through. I always do the example problems in class. When you work a problem with your teacher, write it down in your notebook so when it's time to do your homework, you can look at the examples you've already done. That way you won't stare at a blank sheet of paper :). The other method I use is to ask one of my friends in the class for help. Ask your friend how he or she remembers how to do the problems! Your friends are always there to help. Good luck.
--Jaron, IML Mentor

I too am a terrible math student with a short memory. The best way to remember the problems is to get involved during class, take notes and ask a lot of questions to make sure you really understand the concepts. There are also some websites online that can help you with homework. Try checking out some of the websites by typing in "math" or "homework help" on your favorite search engine. Good Luck!
--Cyntianna, IML Mentor


Dear IML,
In my school, sixth grade is a part of elementary school. I heard scary stories about middle school, and my sister is no help. I am scared the eighth graders will use their size to bully me.
--Joseph, 12

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Joseph,
When I was going into middle school, older kids told me that sixth graders were dumped in trash cans. Because of this, I became nervous around 8th graders. But when school started, the worst that ever happened was that 6th graders were called "scrubs." That was it! Remember that 8th graders were also 6th graders once (and not too long ago, either) and in no time you'll be an 8th grader yourself. It probably makes the 8th graders feel "big" to make someone else feel small. It's OK to be scared, but don't let that ruin your year. Good luck!
--Leah, IML Mentor

Hey Joseph,
Fortunately, my school is very small, and very personal, so something like bullying other kids is almost unimaginable. The faculty would know about it quickly and not tolerate it. However, the school you go to might be different. When the older kids were bothering me, I ignored them and didn't hang out with them. The best defense is to just lay low from the older kids and not get involved with them. It seems to me that older kids only like bullying when the kids they are bullying give up good fights. Don't make it worth their time if they do try to bully you.
--Mikey, IML Mentor

Good news! IML has an entire section on making the jump to Middle School. Check it out!


Dear IML,
I'm going to sixth grade and I'm really nervous, but I'm also excited. I'm scared that kids are going to pick on me because I'm short. But I'm excited because I get to work with more people and teachers. Is this normal?
--Samantha, 11

Dear IML,
I'm kind of scared to go to middle school. I'm getting stressed out. Please help!
--Alexandria, 12

An expert responds:
From Josephine Schiff, MSW, LCSW

Dear Samantha and Alexandria,
This sounds very familiar! My son is going into the sixth grade too, and he's already having a case of the jitters. Often, the jitters come from a fear of the unknown. You haven't been to middle school yet -- how do you know what happens? I'll bet you've heard stories about it, though. And I'll bet you've had stressed-out thoughts about what it might be like. When dealing with a new situation, it's best to focus on the facts. Do you have friends who are going to the school, too? Are you able to take a tour of the school before the first day? Concentrate on the facts, and focus on your strengths. You're bound to have some butterflies at first, but once you get used to the middle school routine, you'll be an expert!

The IML Mentors respond:

Hey Samantha,
I remember when I was taking the big "leap" into middle school, I felt the same way. In fact, I was the shortest person in my class at that time. But don't worry, going into middle school totally makes up for being short, and over time you'll grow taller and taller. Middle school is awesome, so enjoy it while it lasts! Good luck, I know you can make that step.
--Jaron, IML Mentor

Dear Samantha and Alexandria,
Middle school is really different from elementary school. I remember when I made my transition and our grade doubled in size. I no longer knew all the kids...in fact, I knew less than half the kids. It is a huge change, but before you know it, you'll forget about elementary school. Nervousness is always something that comes along with changes. I was nervous during seventh grade also, but I soon became aware of how everyone else in the grade was going through the same thing. You're not alone. There are kids who feel the same way, even if they won't admit it.
--Mikey, IML Mentor

Dear Samantha and Alexandria,
Going to middle school is an exciting time; however, it can be a little scary too! Starting over at a new school can be hard, but you are not the only one. Everyone else in 6th grade is new as well. As for stressing out over starting, I can understand that. I'm doing the same for college in the fall, but as you're also feeling excited, I am too. It's normal and perfectly okay to feel nervous, especially about being teased. I hope that doesn't happen, but as you get a little older teasing tends to lessen in school. I wish you the best of luck as you begin middle school.
--Leah, IML Mentor

Is middle school really? Read more in the IML section on
Middle School.


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