hey guys, i am in my first year teaching 3rd grade. I am actually certified to teach middle school social studies and english... but i work at a private christian school so i was able to get into a job even though it wasnt in my certification.
I really want to teach middle school social studies and well as coach basketball one day ( i know who ever heard of a social studies teacher that is also a coach lol) .....
What are some of the struggles of teaching this age? I already know the struggles of teaching the younger grades .....
It's a unique age. You see them in the morning and they're happy-go-lucky, you see them at lunch and they're bawling (that goes for boys too!) Half of the time, THEY don't even know why they feel the way they do! Middle schoolers are in that rebellious "testing boundaries" stage. They really need strong positive influences in their lives to guide them in making good decisions.
I like middle schoolers because they're independent and witty. They can take some sarcasm and joking without completely losing it. Yet they still need your guidance and advice. And I really see a growth (both academically and personally) in my students from beginning of the year to the end. That's satisfying to me.
They are a challenging mix of little kid and young adult. They want freedom, but don't know how to handle it. They want you to take care of them, but they don't necessarily want to admit it to you or anyone else. They are a hormonal mess. I have tears--female and male--at least once a day. Reasons vary. They can smell "fake" and " unfair" a mile away. They will do anything for you when they know you care about them. They get my corny humor, but they know I mean business.
They aren't for everybody, but I'm glad I found them. (I'm 7-12 English certified, and I fell into a middle school job after two years of high school. I intended to go back to high school, but I found that I loved middle school and stayed.)
Thanks for the advice guys. This is the age that I went to college for so I am just hoping that i can get in somewhere to teach social studies or language arts or both someday. I love third but I know that I would enjoy the older kids a lot more.
I love it when I tell people I am an 8th grade teacher and they give me a look like "Are you crazy?!" and ask me if I chose to teach that grade. And yes I did, and I don't regret it.
As mopar has mentioned, there are huge differences between 6th, 7th, and 8th. I've subbed, or student taught in each so here is what I noticed.
6th grade: They're still basically elementary kids. They very participatory and really benefit from cultivating a positive classroom environment in which they're expected to pay each other compliments. They take to the work earnestly, and are eager to share their work. You do have to deal with the issues of younger children, for instance, a lack of personal responsibility, hygiene issues, etc.
7th grade: They're a little more mature, but the large majority of them are still eager to please their teacher, and get excited about what they're learning each day. Most of the girls will have or will begin to hit puberty, so they get a little boy crazy (usually about pop idols and such because the boys in 7th grade are still pre-pubescent).
8th grade: In a way, you can say at this age, the crap hits the fan. Everyone has hit puberty, and they're all about impressing their peers. Their teachers and parents are no longer the ones they want to impress, they want to impress each other. However, also included in this age, is increased personal responsibility. They generally take responsibility for their actions, and begin fully understanding consequences. If you can reach a student at this age, you know you've probably got them engaged for life. (after all they're ignoring girls, friends, and entertainment to listen to you!)
1. Classroom management (they will challenge you and you must have excellent classroom management)
2. Motivation (if you are going to be a 7th grade teacher, hopefully you are going to make your subject interesting and inspiring.) They need some motivating.
3. Attitude (you will hear lots of complaining and deal with students who will try to talk back to you)
4. Large variance in ability. The ability variance is HUGE. Some will be able to do high school work while some might struggle with 4th grade work in the same classroom.
If you can succeed with these 4 challenges, you'll do very well with middle school.