Early adolescence is the beginning of huge changes that eventually move humans from children to adults. One important transition during this time is moving from elementary into middle school. This paper explores my own memories of transitioning from a two-room elementary to a large three-story middle school and the difficulties I encountered. Through the use of the autoethnographical process, I explore my complex relationship as both a middle school student and a middle school principal to this phase of development. Writing the autoethnography allowed for an assessment of my own transition, while also affording the opportunity to reflect these memories against my current professional beliefs. Through this exploration, I found a number of clear connections such as understanding the importance of building relationships with students, making sure the school has a strong monitoring system for student movement, and the creation of a purposeful transition program for incoming 6th grade students. Before this project, I understood the importance of these features, but now I grasp why I have a strong drive and passion to ensure these elements for students.


Middle School, Autoethnography, Middle School Concept, Secondary Administration

Author Bio(s)

Vikki Wandmacher grew up in Michigan, attained a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and continued her education at Eastern Michigan University, earning her teaching certificate, an M.A., and a Specialist degree. A National Board-Certified educator with more than 20 years’ experience in K-12 schools, Vikki is currently a middle school principal and a PhD student at Eastern Michigan University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: vwandmac@yahoo.com.


I would like to thank Professor Joe Bishop for his support and insights throughout the writing process. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the TQR editors and reviewers for their invaluable assistance.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.