So often the middle school years are considered awful.  Reasons for this can vary, but most adults associate that time in their lives with a sense of precariousness, and for some, even extreme anxiety. 

When stating during conversation that I am a middle school teacher, it often is met with ‘oh, you must be a saint’ to work with that aged person! 

The impression of a middle school setting seems to be a place that is by nature “out of control”, due to its unpredictability and/or the assumption of predictably badly behaved students.  There is the idea that middle school consists of apathetic and grumpy young people who stumble and struggle through this tumultuous time of life and that those typical interactions constantly are fraught with pure defiance and adversarial relationships.

So, why would someone want to be a middle school educator?

It is true that a large group of 10 – 13-year-olds together in one building often is a recipe for bullying, low self-esteem, resulting in a purely punitive environment. 

However, in a small middle school setting, such as CELC Middle School, the wonder and magnificence of this time of life is brought forth. 

When students are engaged and challenged, it presents such a powerful opportunity to make the very best of the time of life of such a changeable person.  These years are for personal discovery, when a person makes choices and real-life decisions that affect who one is becoming.  We regularly behold the potential, and all young people benefit – it happens each day, right before our very eyes! 

The brains of early adolescents are full of grey matter and the power to learn. Basically, the middle school brain is like a super-fast race car with terrible brakes, being driven by a student driver. Our job as educators is to help our students become experts at driving their own super-powered brains by developing neural connections in their prefrontal cortex – the area of the brain responsible for organizational thinking and emotional regulation.
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A small middle school setting is designed to purposefully allow a young person the chance to pause and reflect, to learn to communicate, to relate with one another in conscious and meaningful ways. 

Such a powerful, magical, and unique time of life is important to capture and to nurture.

Being engaged and happy at school is key.   A solid and inspired middle school experience truly makes a difference to one’s future.

Middle school is a time of life to pay attention to, as it is full of possibility.   When tapped, it offers an almost unlimited source of potential toward one’s growth and development. 

Sure, there are ups and downs. Yet when a student is given time and attention, has a voice, and is a valued member of a learning community, such as what happens at a place like CELC Middle School, real transformation occurs.  

And guess what? 

It is pure joy to witness and be part of a student’s life during this part of the journey.


CELC Middle School is a unique experientially based middle school in Branford, CT, promoting learner-centered robust academics combined with out-of-the-classroom experiences, 5th – 8th grade (selected 4th-graders).

Limited openings are available now for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Contact [email protected] or call 203.433.4658 for more information.