Challenges of middle grades

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by sizzla_222, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. sizzla_222

    sizzla_222 Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 14, 2011

    I have just passed all the tests to become a Ohio licensed teacher. I am hoping to get a job in the middle grades in either Language Arts or Social Studies next year.

    What are some of the challenges that you guys have seen in teaching middle school ages?
     
  2.  
  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 14, 2011

    The rule of three---girls seem to have a difficult time trying to be friends when there are three girls who all want to be friends.

    Parent vs student responsibility---how much the students need to be responsible for their actions, homework, and self and how much the parents want to be responsible for or do not wish to be responsible for the action, homework, and self of their child.

    Working with students who do not remember what has been taught in previous grades.

    Organization!
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,982
    Likes Received:
    1,798

    Dec 14, 2011

    Coming to grips with the fact that some of these kids are growing up way too fast.

    Hormones!

    Removing a whole lot of words from your classroom vocabulary (balls, hard, etc.).

    The joys, however, far outweigh the challenges.
     
  5. sizzla_222

    sizzla_222 Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 14, 2011

    I can definitely see the point about parent/student responsibility. At my current school a parent kept commenting saying that "we" only had a short time to do a paper. I was thinking it should have been "he/she" only has a short time, not "we".
     
  6. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    44

    Dec 17, 2011

    Highly energetic boys who have the attention spans of moths, who love to throw things.
    Girls who are moody/giggly in the span of a minute.
    I adore 6th, can tolerate 8th, and can't stand 7th.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,109

    Dec 17, 2011

    You've shared your disdain for seventh graders before.
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?p=1546564#post1546564
    Your descriptions above of middle schoolers in general are not quite positive.
    How do you keep your dislike from coloring your students' experience? And do you think that administration is possibly picking up on your vibe?
     
  8. cmw

    cmw Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    2

    Dec 27, 2011

    :D
     
  9. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 27, 2011

    I'm a first year teacher, teaching math and language arts to 8th graders with learning disabilities. Here are some of the challenges I have encountered:

    -DRAMA! I feel like half of my instruction time is consumed by drama. One girl is crying, two boys are going back and forth in argument, one is threatening to punch the other...and I have (at most) 9 kids at a time! My resource room is very "comfortable" for the students, they feel safe with me in my small group...so that's probably why they're so willing to express their drama lol.

    -Middle schoolers have, for the most part, lost their natural child-like excitement for learning. It's really hard to come up with engaging lessons that will thrill them and keep them hooked. We, as teachers, are competing with things like Facebook, video games and 3D movies. It's hard to interest them when they are so used to those high impact, on demand activities.

    But, I love the middle school age because I feel like the students are finally coming into their own. You can see alot of growth and maturity in those middle school years (even though on some days it may feel like fart jokes will be funny forever). I love discussing with my class and hearing their opinions. I love that they allow me to be their guide in knowledge and life, and that they seek me out when they're having a tough time. The are positives and negatives to middle grades, and you'll only know if it's right for you once you're in the trenches!
     
  10. AFine

    AFine Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2012

    I think there are challenges teaching at any age level. At the middle school level, you have the benefit of having fewer lessons to plan for than at the elementary level. For me, this is such a big deal. Students are more independent than at the elementary level, too. Still, they are not held responsible the same way that high school students are. The parent/student responsibility and lack of consequences at this level are frustrating to me. Very very immature boys irritate me lol. That is a challenge because it is hard to even know how to respond when a boy claims that when the dice land on 1 and 2 that it looks like male genitals. I just think, "Really?" That is partly hormones, too, of course! Overall, I love the age and think they are fun and funny and passionate (although, admittedly, not always about the best things)!
     
  11. mistermitchell3

    mistermitchell3 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 10, 2012

    I'll add: teaching students to understand responsibilities beyond the classroom. They will forget to do homework, to study for exams and quizzes, and to stay on top of their grades. Plus, if they are coming from an elementary school that does not employ lockers, that too can become a big issue. Giving them enough time to open locks on lockers, to get to class on time, etc.
     
  12. BigTeacher

    BigTeacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 13, 2012

    I've found that there can be a lot of good in using a classroom management system, both for parents and students.
     
  13. smck

    smck Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2012

    I will have to agree that parents at this age are just as interesting as their students. With middle school the kids are starting to form their personalities and are testing boundaries at school and home. For a lot of parents, its very hard for them to suddenly have a child that is no longer motivated with school, that has other interests, or that is hitting a different level of maturity (or immaturity). Often, they immediately turn defensive because they truly do not believe their child would do that (or they are in denial). By the time the reach highschool, the parents have a fairly good grasp on what their child is like when out of their sight. :)

    Or, that has been my experience this year. With another group of students, it could be very different.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 1, 2012

    They're mercurial. They'll change from sophisticated pre-teens to toddlers in the blink of an eye. Teaching them is many things, but it certainly isn't boring.

    They have 20-20 vision. They can spot a fake a mile away. If you don't know your content, if you don't really like them, if you are in the least bit unsure of yourself or what you're doing, they'll know it. My son and daughter are both in middle school. And, as much as they would rather do no work at all, they're fiercely opposed to those teachers who don't demand a lot of them, and fiercely loyal of those that do (even as they complain about the workload.)

    But they're incredibly loyal. And once you have their loyalty, you have it forever.

    Six years ago I taught 180 7th graders. Those kids are this year's Senior class, and I still have a very special place in my heart for that group. Even the ones I haven't taught in the years since still stop and say hi. We had a lot of fun when they were in 7th grade, and some still stop by to ask me for extra help in Precalculus or Calculus.

    You can't teach middle school unless you're willing to give them your heart. Because they'll most definitely take it.
     
  15. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,934
    Likes Received:
    257

    Apr 7, 2012

    <<The rule of three---girls seem to have a difficult time trying to be friends when there are three girls who all want to be friends.>>

    My gosh this a millions time this. Of course, there is the corollary that the 3rd person can also be a boy who has no idea either girl has any interest in him whatsoever.

    I'm a 31 year old man and I spent 2 hours of my day yesterday counseling two 12 year old girls who have been best friends for years and now are threatening to beat each other up... The only upside is I was just as lost as they were.

    I miss my single gender classes.
     
  16. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2012

    I could never teach middle school students. To me, they are quite unpleasant people: distracted, mean to one another, loud, intensely and aggressively conformist. Kudos to those who can deal with them.

    High schoolers, on the other hand, are fascinating to me; I love working with them.

    It is so important that teachers in training find their way to the right grade level.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 9, 2012

    TeachOn, that is very true—for the teacher's sake and children's. I love my sixth graders (most of the time). :)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. sevenplus,
  2. CDOR79,
  3. MrsC,
  4. Ima Teacher
Total: 493 (members: 7, guests: 468, robots: 18)
test