comparing middle school to high school

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by a teacher, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. a teacher

    a teacher Cohort

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    What are some of the main differences between teaching middle school and teaching high school? I will be switching to high school next year and I'm wondering how much of my approach and my lessons I will need to modify and in what ways.
     
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  3. StudentTeach

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    Which grade(s) will you be teaching in high school?
     
  4. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I would think the biggest difference is the level of critical thinking, comprehension and responsibility in high school compared to middle school.

    I've not taught in HS, but I have subbed in several classes. Most of the time, you do not have to explain the lesson as completely or explicitly to high schoolers as you do middle schoolers because they have the cognitive ability to grasp things more quickly and to read the material on their own. They also have a higher level of responsibility for taking notes and learning the material with more individual effort, whereas in middle school, I find I still need to explain most material step-by-step.

    Of course, you also sometimes have more of the drama and attitude from HS students than from middle schoolers, but most of my experience has been very positive. I would give the HS kids their assignments, go over any explanations the teacher had left, then leave them to work on the assignment for the remainder of the class.

    As a regular teacher, you'll still have to find ways to explain the material clearly and still might have to go over some things step-by-step, especially if it's new material. I didn't have to deal with that because most of the assignments left for me were based on material they had already covered.

    Other than that, the same basic principles apply. Always promote a positive atmosphere in your room, establish and ENFORCE your class rules right away, and treat the kids with the same respect you want them to show to you.
     
  5. a teacher

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    I just wonder how many of the immature behaviors I experience everyday at a middle school, I will be able to say I am done with having to deal with. The most obvious that comes to mind is how middle school kids do the same foolish things day after day even when they know they will face the same consequences they faced the previous day. In other words, there's a lack of common sense and of control. Also, I wonder if I just take my class procedures straight over to the high school level with no modification, will certain things seem babyish to them? For example, lining them up outside before they enter class. That's important in middle school, but is it reasonable for high school?

    And I will probably be teaching all grades in high school.
     
  6. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    My experience is limited.

    However, if I tried to line up my students before class I'd have a revolt on my hands inside of 20 seconds.
     
  7. Ms.SLS

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    Is it typical to ask middle school students to line up before class?
     
  8. Math

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    I remember lining up for most classes in Middle School. Now in High School, no, we do not line up we just go in.
     
  9. a teacher

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    Lining up students makes more sense than just letting them wander in. You get their attention and then you can make eye contact with each of them as they walk in as well as saying hello. This establishes a good climate before class even begins.

    I'm concerned that if they just walk in, they will be all over the place. How do you get their attention? What do they do when they enter the room? Is there a routine? Maybe high school kids get settled real quick and so don't need to get in line. That's what I'm asking about I guess.
     
  10. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jun 15, 2011

    I'm also switching from middle school to high school this fall. I guess I'll do what the other teachers do as far as beginning class. In the middle school I taught at, we had the students line up outside the door before every class. I'm guessing that they don't do that in high school, though.
     
  11. INteacher

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    :yeahthat:

    and the fact that your students will be coming from all different areas, and my P would NOT want all my students standing outside my room in the hallway clogging up the halls making it difficult for other students to get to class.

    You do need to establish the ground rules for entering your classroom and what students will do upon entering your room. You will also need to inforce whatever tardy policy is in the student handbook. Our tardy policy specific states students must be in their seats when the bell rings in order to not be counted tardy.
     
  12. a teacher

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    What would I have to modify in terms of my approach? What can HS kids do that MS kids aren't capable of due to immaturity? What that I might try to continue at the HS level that I've been doing in MS would be considered too babyish for HS kids? Or is that not an issue?
     
  13. a teacher

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    So what are some of your concerns about making the switch? What are some of the things you look forward to and what are you anxious about?
     
  14. Ms.SLS

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    As far as the coming into class issue, I open the door and greet my high school kids there. If they're not in their seat when the bell rings, they're tardy.
     
  15. cmw

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    I teach middle school and my students come right in. I stand at the door & greet them. My room is in a different wing from the other classes so it takes 3-5 minutes for all my students to arrive. There is always an activity to start the class that they begin as soon as they walk in. It is listed on the board with the agenda for the day. (That way they are focused from the start of class. ) If the activity involves a paper they get it off a music stand on their way in. To get them into the routine I do reward those following directions with tickets or jolly ranchers. :D
     
  16. Math

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    Is that truly fair?
     

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