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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'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.
--Dillon, 11

An expert responds:

Dear Dillon, You are not alone! Most kids dont like homework. The trick is learning how to do something you dont like very much. Think of homework as a good habit -- like brushing your teeth, or taking showers. Any good habit is done at a certain time of day. So, pick a time when your homework will be done. EVERY DAY. Remember, homework isnt a choice. Its something you must do, like looking both ways before you cross the street.

Are you forgetting because the homework is too difficult? Then you may need to talk to your parent (s) and teacher about getting extra help. Do you do other things that you enjoy because you have problems focusing on your schoolwork? Your teacher can help you with strategies to keep your attention on school.

Check your school or public library for the book How To Do Homework Without Throwing Up, by Trevor Romain. Theres a lot of ideas and good advice for you.

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Dear IML,
At school, we are learning about the male reproductive system. Its 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.
--Danielle, 11

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Danielle,
Oh yes, it is really embarrassing to have to learn all that stuff! I used to feel uncomfortable about it too, and I was silly enough to ignore the whole male reproductive system when I prepared for my testI almost failed it! But I had to learn it again when I studied biology in high school, and since I'd grown up a lot more, I realized that it's not really that big a deal. The reproductive system is just like any other part of the body, like your heart and lungs. The only reason we girls feel weird about the male system is because we're not familiar with it. Think about how the boys feel when they study the female reproductive system! Anyway, what I mean is, studying our own bodies is a good way to understand ourselves and all the changes that come with puberty. Good luck with your test!
--Joyce, IML Mentor

Dear Danielle,
Talking about the human body can be embarrassing. It's good that you understand that you will need to learn this lesson eventually. But in the meantime, you might want to explain to your teacher that you feel uncomfortable. Its very likely that youre not the first person with this problem! He or she might have some alternative suggestions for you to learn the material, such as researching the body parts on your own. I do some teaching, and when I educate a class about the reproductive system, I try to be open-minded and conscious of every person's feelings on the subject. So if you talk to your teacher, there might be several ways you can deal with this problem.
--Tiffany, IML Mentor

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Dear IML,
I 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?
--Lisa, 13

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Lisa,
You sound like a very smart and responsible person -- because you realized that youre having trouble with a subject and want to do something about it rather than keep struggling. If you are having trouble getting your parents to help you with math, then (as difficult at it can be) you should talk to you teacher. You could write him/her a note explaining what youre having difficulty with (and if you can specifically say what is giving you trouble, even better) and ask for extra help. If you really feel that you are in the wrong class, try talking to your school counselor. Its his or her job to advise you about your classes without making any judgements. Don't give up and good luck!!
--Leah, IML Mentor

Dear Lisa,
If you haven't spoken to your teacher or your school counselor, I really suggest you do it as soon as possible. Tell him or her that youre having problems with your math class and see if you can get some tutoring after-school or something. If you do get the tutoring, and after some time it still isn't helping, then maybe you should consider talking to your teacher and asking if you can be placed in a lower level Math class. It might be that you just need a little more help with the material, so don't give up yet. Make sure you do this ASAP so that your grades won't decrease any longer. Most importantly, though, remember that if you do end up transferring out of your class, it doesnt mean that youre dumb or a math bonehead or something. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Were in school to learn, and what matters is that you do whatever it takes to make that happen.
--Julissa, IML Mentor

Dear Lisa,
I completely understand where you are coming from. I remember taking pre-algebra and it can be very challenging at times, but do not get discouraged. Its admirable that you want to improve the situation as soon as possible, and to do so I suggest you discuss your problem with your teacher. The teacher might agree with you and feel like you would do better in the regular 7th grade math class, and if this is the case, he/she should talk to your parents and hopefully you will be switched. Another thing your teacher might do is to take it into his/her own hands and find a time before, after, or during school to tutor you and explain the lessons in more detail. If this happens, be sure to tell the teacher how you feel and exactly what you do not understand. Before moving on, make sure that you fully understand the lesson; in the long run this will help you on tests and future lessons. I hope everything works out for you!
--Kerri, IML Mentor

Dear Lisa,
So far you've done the right thing by telling your parents that the class is difficult. Because your parents arent responding, I think you should try again and show them your test. It doesn't hurt to continuously ask them for help with your homework. If they see how difficult the homework is maybe they'll understand and be more willing to help. You should also talk to your teacher and/or school counselor. One day before or after school when other classmates aren't around, explain to your teacher the difficulty youre having with the class. Maybe your teacher will agree with you and help you get placed in a more appropriate class. If that doesn't work, you should talk with your school counselor. I wish you lots of luck in that class because I too have a little difficulty when it comes to math!
--Tiffany, IML Mentor

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