comparing middle school to high school

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

  1. misterdee

    misterdee Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2011

    I have taught at both middle school and high school, and the differences are fairly minor. High school students are more versed in the process of "doing school." They will quickly determine exactly how much work they have to do to obtain the grade that they want. They understand that failed courses will need to be made up in some way. High school students have so many more outside obligations and interests that you have to work harder to earn their attention. It is not unusual for high school students to use work time in one course to do the work for their next class. Overall, whatever grade level you teach, you must be honest with your students. Don't threaten when you won't follow through. Don't allow yourself to be backed into a corner -- decide what is most important to you and don't compromise those core values. Most importantly, show the students that you care about them and that you understand that they are complex people of importance.
     
  2. a teacher

    a teacher Cohort

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    Jul 16, 2011

    What teacher personalities do you think are most appreciated by high school students? For lower grades it's best to be real nurturing. They want surrogate parents. What is it that makes a high school teacher popular? What kinds of high school teachers get the most respect?
     
  3. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2011

    There's no single answer to that.

    We have a teacher who is a complete drill sergeant. Everything must be done exactly his way or else. He trains those students like robots.

    And they love it.

    My colleague in English is the total opposite. His room is a shifting pile of books, papers, and interesting objects. He encourages students to decide how to spend their time and how to produce what they think is important but he never really directs them in a formal way.

    And they love it.

    Our French teacher engages in tons of rote work because he believes strongly that knowing the words will produce fluency. Our Physics teacher throws out a problem and makes students do it entirely without him.

    They love both men.

    So....it's not about a single personality type. My observation is that students hate teachers who are ineffective. They'll work hard *if* they're learning. They'll slack without complaining *if* they're learning. But either approach, without any point to the time (ie, they learn nothing) will cause angry, teenage angst in about 2 seconds.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 16, 2011

    It's not about popularity, it's about being effective. If you are an effective teacher, most HS students will value their time with you.

    Things that mean a lot to HS students:
    Fair
    Fair
    Fair
    Consistent
    Reliable
    Real
    Respectful
    Understanding
     
  5. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

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    Jul 16, 2011

    high school kids waaaayyyy more mature (maybe not 9th graders) - taught h.s. for 20+ yrs then went to middle school last year - lot more coddling needed! what is ur subject area?
     
  6. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2011

    I agree with KUAlum, but let me add: expertise matters. If you don't know your subject, they will catch you out. And they are merciless.
     
  7. a teacher

    a teacher Cohort

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    Jul 17, 2011

    Here's a related question: What happens when you assign detention and they don't show up? This would happen frequently when I was teaching middle school.

    And I would disagree with what was written about high school kids liking all kinds of teachers as long as they taught well. There are just certain types of people that are more popular because they are pleasant to be around and make you feel special as their student. Wouldn't most of us agree? Most of my teachers in high school taught well (as far as I can remember) but only a few were people I looked up to. This was because I liked them as people, and still would.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2011

    I can honestly say that I liked all my teachers in HS and college as long as I was learning. Looking back on the ones I didn't like, they were extremely ineffective. My senior year English teacher had zero control over the class and didn't teach us anything. But I may not have particularly cared for a class (like government) but I still liked my teacher and learned a lot from him.
     
  9. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2011

    Ateacher, I agree if the question was about being liked. Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought that the question was about the best approach. Since the goal isn't to be liked, but to help students learn, the best approach is variable. You can teach in many ways and "succeed" if the definition of success is that students feel they are in a working environment where they can grow intellectually.

    But you're absolutely right that some teachers are more likable, and therefore better liked. We have teachers who are just wonderful human beings in every way. We all love them, of course.

    To answer your question, if a student fails to show up for detention, he receives a week of detention. If he fails to show up for that, he is suspended. But students have a couple of days to appear, so they can fit detention into their schedule a little bit. As far as I understand it, this has never been a problem at our school.
     

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