Middle School vs. High School

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by teacherin2014, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. teacherin2014

    teacherin2014 Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2014

    I just graduated from an MAT program in May 2014. I completed my practicum and student-teaching in high school classrooms. I am currently looking for a full-time position for either psychology, history, or some combination of the two. I have applied to over 30 jobs and have gone on four interviews (one in which I made it all the way to the demo less), but still have not been offered a job.

    I know in my gut that I am a high school teacher, so I have applied almost exclusively for high school positions. Also, all of my classmates and professors, as well as my cooperating teacher have told me that they see me as a high school teacher and that middle school would not be right for me. However, I am starting to get desperate and am considering applying for some middle school positions as well.

    Is teaching middle school really all that different from teaching high school? I have some concerns, as I really do not believe in hand-holding, have very little tolerance for silliness, and do not want to spend most of the class period focusing on discipline and organization, because I love teaching content.

    Thank you in advance.
     
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  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2014

    It is very different in some ways. I always said I'd never teach junior high. However, my first year I had a class of 8th grade. I ended up loving that class the most! In my current job I have sophomores and seniors. I love them and definitely prefer them. I don't think I'd be irate though if they moved me down to junior high though.

    Patience is a must with any grade level. My seniors can try my nerves just as much as that 8th grade group. The 8th graders were more forgiving. They weren't ones to hold a grudge the way my high schoolers can. Out of that year, my sophomores needed the most hand-holding. They were also my most immature group. I spent more time on discipline with the sophomores. I taught a lot of content to everyone though. Kids can be silly. My silliest kid this year was an 18-year-old. He was a hoot! I believe sometimes you just have to let them be kids and be silly. I plan different activities that allow for those moments. Sometimes there are days where you're just not going to accomplish what you thought. Maybe there was a late playoff game so everyone is a little slap happy. Being flexible is key with any age group.

    Did you do any observations or field work with junior high?
     
  4. teacherin2014

    teacherin2014 Rookie

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    I did some observations with junior high and actually enjoyed it, but the next week I did some observations at a high school and knew within five minutes that that was a better fit for me. I was surprised at how much material had to be simplified at the middle school level and how slowly teachers had to move through the material.
     
  5. joeboo22

    joeboo22 Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2014

    Its different but I think it depends on the area. Where I did my student teaching, the 8th graders were awesome, the 9th and 10th graders were terrible. Where I'm at now the 8th graders are terrible.

    The big difference in my experience is, the high schoolers are motivated to be in the classroom, they are either choosing to be there, or need to be there to graduate. Where in middle school its just a class they have to take.
     
  6. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jul 19, 2014

    Hugely different, IMHO. I've taught 6-11.

    Here's how I see them:
    6th - still very elementary. Like hugs, want to tell you everything, still want to please the teacher.
    7th - where I've spent the majority of my teaching. Hormones galore. They go a little crazy and relearn the word "no" a la the terrible twos. Need serious hand-holding and are likely to forget everything 5 seconds after you tell them. You have to be really understanding of the hormone/body/social changes at this age.
    8th - great age. They mature over the summer & are generally back on track, school-wise. Still some hand-holding, but much easier to hold serious conversation with.
    9th - ultimately terrified of being in HS. Can be timid little mice or big bad wolves with lots of bravado, depending on how they react to their fear. School work slips a bit as they try to find their way.
    10th - pretty chill. Kind of the sweet spot for HS.
    11th - mine had senioritis since there wasn't a senior class that year, so I'm not a great judge of that age.

    My favorite grade is 8th. They're pretty mature but they still need you a bit and aren't afraid to admit it.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2014

    I've taught grades 6-12.

    I don't like 6th graders. They are too elementary for me. I don't like 9th graders either. My favorites are 7th and 12th grades.

    My focus is on the instruction in 12th grade. I focus mostly on management in middle school.
     
  8. blauren

    blauren Rookie

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    The grades I've worked with are 7th & 8th (a few different long term assignments) and 10th (student teaching). High school students are more mature and I enjoyed that and never thought I'd like junior high. After working with junior high students, 8th grade has definitely become one of my favorite age levels. I agree with someone else who said 7th graders need a lot of hand holding. For whatever reason, I feel that when kids hit 7th grade, it's like they regress and become even more immature than they were in 6th grade. I find 7th graders really annoying. They mature the summer before 8th grade and instead of annoying you, they tend to make you laugh. What matters the most is where you teach. More poverty stricken areas will have kids that need a lot more from you. You will develop closer relationships with those students where as the privileged suburban kids keep their distance.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I like middle school, and teach high school, so take this from someone who has done both. A friend always told his 7th graders that they had to do all their whining in the 7th, it wouldn't work or be tolerated above. You know, he was spot on, and the kids joked about it when they were caught whining in the 8th grade, with a laugh by all. High school has different problems, different parental pressures, a lot more attempted cheating because grades and GPA suddenly become extremely relevant and important to their future plans. I would be happy from 6th and above. Much is what you make of it. They all need to be taught, but if you feel that you are settling by teaching middle school, do them a favor and don't go there. With age and children of your own, you may come to appreciate those 'tweens and early teens, but it doesn't sound like you are there yet.
     
  10. teacherin2014

    teacherin2014 Rookie

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    @lynnetstoy

    Your post is definitely in line with what I am feeling. I am hesitant to apply to the middle school positions, because I feel as if I would be doing the students a disservice, since those positions are kind of a last resort to me and I do not really want them.

    As for my age, I am only 24, so I do not have my own children and have not been around that age group much. I also feel as if my age would make me more relatable to high schoolers, as I was in their shoes as recently as 6 years ago.
     
  11. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jul 20, 2014

    My opinion is that two of the most important attributes a middle school teacher needs, much more so than a high school teacher, are a sense of humor and a thick skin. If you have those, go for it.
     
  12. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2014

    There's always drama with the middle school girls. They can be extremely cruel to each other and the teachers.

    The boys can just be annoying.

    High school they are little more ,dare I say, mature.
     
  13. hep223

    hep223 Companion

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    I agree! I have student taught in 7th grade and am a Mom, which helps me greatly as a teacher. I would also agree that 6th is still Elementary, 7th is a big year of adjustments for the students between hormones and trying to find out who they are. That being said, I LOVED teaching 7th grade. I used humor in my classroom, I was flexible with the conversations we had, and grew a thick skin. I learned that you have to set the expectations from day 1 and be consistent with them. If you say you are going to do something then do it. :)
     
  14. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Jul 21, 2014

    I have taught every grade from 6 through 12 and I prefer HS over MS. Even within saying that, I have differing opinions on each individual grade level. Basically, I don't like teaching the "beginner grades" at the MS or HS level.

    When I say "beginner grades" for MS, I mean 6th and 7th grade. First, I believe that 7th grade is the worst grade in the world to teach - period. Like period. Now, while I have found that 6th grade is the easiest to teach in regards to 6th -12th grade, this grade level grates on my nerves due to students being undercover big babies.

    At the HS level, I don't like 9th or 10th graders with 10th grade being comparable to 7th grade. I would prefer to teach all Seniors if given a choice.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jul 21, 2014

    I much more prefer high school. I student taught in 8th grade and subbed in middle school for 6 months and I loved it, but as soon as I stepped foot in a high school classroom, I knew that's what I love. And that classroom was in a detention center, and still.
    They're more mature, you can reason with them, most of their hormones settled down a little, they're just mentally and emotionally more developed.
    Even then, 9th grade is my least favorite, mostly because they're the youngest, but also because they're trying to figure out how high school works, how they can make it work for them; they're all of sudden in the 'big kid school', and with that often comes confusion, feeling lost, scared, or trying to fit in too much and trying to impress the wrong crowd.
    Other than that I have no preference, especially since at our school we have them grouped as 9/10 and 11/12 in one classroom. I can definitely tell if I have more 9th graders than 10 in the classroom.
     
  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jul 21, 2014

    There can be a draw back to being young with high school, especially if you look young enough to actually be a student. I worked with a teacher who was virtually stalked by a student who couldn't get it in his head that she was not as young as she looked. The school was a little lax in the attention they gave the situation, and she was very distressed and uneasy for the entire second semester. There are some advantages to having a few wrinkles - remember that when you get a few!
     

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