John F. Kennedy Middle School Assistant Principal of Student Services Amber Nickel knows life can be challenging for middle school students.
She created a special group last fall to help students process those challenges and has continued the group during the COVID-19 pandemic via Zoom video chats or phone calls. The group, called “Lunch with the Ladies…Where We Spill the Tea” is open to both male and female students.
“The premise is to chat about middle school life with topics related to friendships, handling gossip, a timeout from the café crowds, current events and social media,” Nickel said.
Each lunch period, groups of students meet in Nickel’s office to talk about anything that may be on their minds.
“We talk a lot about middle school problems because to them, in the world of middle school, their problems are big problems,” Nickel said.
Through the group sessions, Nickel helps her students feel comfortable talking to a trusted adult about the problems they are facing.
“I help them feel comfortable to talk to me by relating to them, being an active listener and explaining to them that we have all been in their shoes,” she said.
At the end of “Lunch with the Ladies…Where We Spill the Tea” sessions, Nickel hopes to build students’ confidence, self-esteem, and advocacy, she said.