Why do you teach in middle school?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by emmyjean, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. emmyjean

    emmyjean New Member

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    Apr 11, 2017

    I am trying to decide what age I want to teach. I heard that teaching middle school can be a challenge since they are in their "awkward years." Why do you teach middle school and not high school or elementary? I am leaning towards teaching this age group.
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Guru

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    They can be fun, there is less grade pressure than HS, and sometimes you have just the right amount of content knowledge to fit with what they need to learn. Example: If you are qualified to teach an AP course in HS, you may have difficulty dialing it back to MS goals and objectives. I like MS - they are becoming more mature, but they are not as intentionally rude, more a work in progress. I like Elementary 3-5, but no itty bitties. I can only tie so many shoes or remind them to use a kleenex so many times a day. I teach HS now, but envisioned teaching MS. I should say, however, that some of my HS students are very MS in their actions, so I am happy.
     
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  4. christie

    christie Rookie

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    Apr 13, 2017

    I'm currently a specialist in an elementary school, but I miss my middle school kids. They're still (mostly) interested in pleasing and doing well, but a little more mature and they're figuring out who they are. I loved talking to them about random stuff. They get very passionate about things, they find their people, they are just awesome. Hormones are hell, but the rest of it makes up for it.
     
  5. Committed2DaProfession

    Committed2DaProfession Rookie

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    I am certified to teach 7-12 Social Studies and Social Sciences, but I must say that MS is a pretty enjoyable grade level...although definitely not for everyone. Yes, they can be excruciatingly immature on a daily basis and the challenges will often be great...but the rewards can be even greater.
     
  6. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    I taught HS first....thought I would only teach HS...but am currently teaching MS.
    I thought I would HATE MS. I was wrong. I think the major differences that I have seen are:
    In High School kids no longer care or fear consequences. They are ready to argue back and be more defiant.

    Middle school kids can be annoying but alot of it is because they dont know where the line is and if they have crossed it. MS kids are funny and VERY literal. They keep me on my toes. I think MS gets a bad wrap sometimes because HS is what a ton of people dream of teaching. I LOVE MS and will likely not go back to HS anytime soon.

    HS-is the first time kids have grades that actually mean something.
    MS-kids have terrible homework or work habits. These things are teachable..
     
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  7. sportsguy

    sportsguy Rookie

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    Apr 14, 2017

    Middle school students are willing to try anything. You can also discipline them much easier.
     
  8. Bailey Tucker

    Bailey Tucker New Member

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    Apr 18, 2017

    I am still working on my degree in teaching but I am in a 7th grade math class most days and I love it. I have really awesome students that really want to learn. There is a great relationship of respect between the teacher and the students and they work really hard. Not all students are like that but I think you can create that environment and it is easy with Jr. high students because they are trying to grow up but still have a child's innocence.
     
  9. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Apr 18, 2017

    I bailed on middle school to go back to elementary school, but I did enjoy aspects of that age group. They were really starting to see the world around them and watching them move through that, trying to find their place, etc. was really cool, even when it was hard. They're at an age where they can have some deeper, more meaningful discussions about things.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 18, 2017

    Started at MS, and went to HS. Big mistake. As others have said, HS students are often intentionally rude and will set out to try to ruin your day if you let them. Many are ungrateful and really self-centered. For some reason mine are also more immature than my middle schoolers were. Or at least more immature than I expected them to be at that age.

    As others have said, you can relax and have fun with MSers. They want to please you, and are pretty much begging to have a good relationship with you if you know how to manage them right. I could get along with the ones who were behavior issues and the ones who were straight A students. In HS, if I hold a student accountable for a consequence for their behavior, it's like I killed their dog or something, and they hate me for life. I don't feel as bad because they're constantly talking crap about other teachers too, and how much they hate them for some insignificant thing, so I figure they just hate everyone. (which I guess was true for me in HS too)
     
  11. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I teach MS (Y8 and 9) and I have to say that most days I love it but some days the immaturity just annoys me to no end. At this age group I find that they are have a sense of fun and lessons are mostly enjoyable if you have your classroom and behaviour management down pat. You can form great relationships with students that make lessons easy and makes teaching very rewarding.

    I have to pick my battles - I'm going to put my foot down when it comes to being respectful but I'm not going to pick a fight with a student if he doesn't want to take off his hat. To me, I can live with the hat but not a rude kid. It's futile to want everything perfect, you end up nowhere.

    We have to bear in mind at this age, their hormones are all over the place and we do have to make some concessions. Sometimes a kid may do or say something, but it's not them it's the hormones. Allow the kid to apologise and move on. So I agree that they aren't intentionally rude.
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Sep 29, 2017

    If you are certified 7-12 then you might not have a choice. You can apply for a certain position in your content area but sometimes people get moved around within the district. I would try to have an open mind with all ages and grade levels.
    I didn't particularly enjoy teaching middle school but I really did have some great students. Same thing with high school. There will be some students you will enjoy teaching and some you might not at any grade level.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I have taught both high and middle. When I left high school to go to middle school, it was an involuntary transfer due to RIF at high level. I said that I'd like to go back if they had a position. It took ten years for a high school English position to open up, and they did ask me if I wanted to return. However, by that point I had fallen in love with those goofy male school kids.

    They are kids one day and grown up the next. They'll do anything for you if they feel like you care about them. They'll make your life miserable if they feel slighted. At high school level I taught mostly seniors. Discipline was not usually an issue, and they didn't require much training in procedures. My focus was the work. At middle school level, I have to focus on teaching procedures and expectations because if those aren't done, then no work gets done.

    My room always smells bad. It's the smell of puberty. LOL

    I have net very few people who kind of like middle school. It's a definitely "love it or hate it" kind of thing.
     
  14. Ratburn

    Ratburn New Member

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    Oct 27, 2017

    Hello!

    I'm new to this forum, but I thought I would chime in.

    I like teaching middle school because they are at that awkward period of their lives - not quite full-fledged teenagers, but not children. They are still eager to learn, but they will offer a good challenge. I taught high schoolers before middle school, so I was able to really appreciate the differences in learning.
     
  15. spookymizu

    spookymizu Rookie

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    May 30, 2018

    So, emmyjean... ...what did you decide? Which grade level did you go with? Enquiring minds need to know!
     
  16. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    May 30, 2018

    That depends on the school. The district I currently teach, most teachers dread teaching grades 7-8 (a majority don't care about grades, consequences, etc. . .and the test is the main concern all year).
     
  17. Camel13

    Camel13 Rookie

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    May 30, 2018

    It was interesting to read replies, as it reflects exactly what I see teaching 6-12. Some HS students are great if they are motivated and you can have very adult conversations with them, but if they are resistant, they are impossible! I had the biggest behavior issues with middle school at the beginning of the year, and I still struggle at times with them in this respect, but I love the conversations my 6 and 7th graders have! They are so inquisitive and I have had some awesome end of year student- led learning!
     
  18. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I recently finished my student teaching in 8th grade and I realized that I love middle school! I had been planning on getting my 8-12 certification but I realized that I did not really want to teach high school.

    One reason that I like middle school is that you can usually talk to teachers who work with the same students. I'm teaching 6th grade next year and my school has a period every other day where we meet as a team--I think this is really nice and not something you can usually do in high school!

    The middle school age is awkward, but I love it. My students this year were a handful but they were also silly and fun to be around. I love that they are still young and appreciate praise.They really appreciate you when they know that you care about them. It is definitely important to have a thick skin and give each student a fresh start every day. Classroom management is very important in middle school too! I feel like I made the right decision with choosing to get a 5-8 certification.

    One downside is that some schools may want a middle school teacher to teach more than one subject. My mentor teacher this year had to teach science and math even though she wasn't certified in science. I am only certified in math so I couldn't apply to some jobs where they wanted a math/science teacher.
     
  19. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 2, 2018

    Ditto on what everyone has said so far. I started teaching at 50 and specifically chose 8th grade because most of the students are "all that" but still want stickers and stamps. No days are boring because the kids at this age are different day to day and sometimes moment to moment. I love it and feel like I actually have a lasting influence on many kids. I always felt that many kids fell through the cracks in middle school, and it is true. They truly struggle to find their place in the world and in their group of peers. It is fun to be a sounding board for them as well as a shoulder for them when they need it. I'd go for it.
     
  20. txbelle

    txbelle Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2018

    My degree is for 7th-12th and I thought I had no interest in teaching middle school. During my observation class last semester I was with a HS teacher who taught the last two classes of the day at the middle school. I got to witness a 7th and 8th grade class and I found I really liked it! You always hear stories about middle schoolers being mean, but they were great. I did, however, figure out really fast that last years freshman girls were horrible! They were just awful to my mentor teacher, and she is the nicest woman.
    I was aiming for high school but now I'm not scared of the thought of getting hired in a middle school.
     
  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Two words: Scented Sachets. You can thank me later.

    I have a different one in every room in my house and in my classroom, too, and they smell positively fantastic.
     

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