Moving from Elementary to Middle?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by DancingBear, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2006

    Hi,
    Has anyone out there moved from elementary school to middle school? I have taught grades 3-6 for 6 years and I don't think I can keep it up. I just don't think I have the energy to do this for the rest of my career. I would love to teach just math and I have my masters in K-8 math, so I'm thinking about going for the CA Single Subject Credential in Foundation level math.

    For anyone who has taught at both levels, what are the differences in workload? Stress? I have friends that teach middle school and I'm always thinking that they work a lot fewer hours than me. Maybe it's just me and I'd work late no matter what. I'm trying to decide whether to pursue this or not.
     
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  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sep 19, 2006

    I'm not an uppper elementary of middle school person, but just from what I've read on here, you may have more papaers, tests, etc. to grade in middle school, but you'll have less subjects to prepare... whereas in elementary, you may be teaching ALL the subjects, you're only teaching 1-2 (probably) for MS, you'll just be teaching them several times to several different kids.

    I'll let the people on here who have more experience in these areas tell you more. ;)
     
  4. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Sep 19, 2006

    I am happily teaching middle school after 6 years in elementary - the teacher next door spent 29 years teaching 5th grade and moved to 6th in the middle school. Each school is different of course but generally speaking, you plan less because you may teach the same lesson 5 times. Some people hate that but I enjoy getting better as the day goes on. You may have 120 papers to correct and each takes longer than an elementary paper but you don't correct as many sets. The setting is more like high school with activities and clubs. I love it!
     
  5. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2006

    Maryhf,
    Do you spend less time each day at school than you did in elementary? I'm currently teaching math to two different classes, so we're departmentalizing a little bit, and I love teaching the same thing twice. I also have realized that I enjoy teaching math so much more than language arts, and I'd love to be able to focus on one subject.
     
  6. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Sep 20, 2006

    That's how I started too - my elementary compartmentalized all subjects in grades 4-6 so I taught science and Language arts. Since then, I've had some years off and then a LTS in a middle school. This is my first year full time in the middle school (language arts and science again) so like any first year teacher, I am spending a lot of time planning after school. But I have at least an hour each day for dedicated planning. The school I had an LTS at last year was 8th grade and I taught only science - 5 times a day. There, we were expected to have very complete detailed lesson plans because you really only taught one class each day. I love middle school. One advantage is that if a student is "bothersome" they leave after 43 minutes! Of course all of my students are charming and very lovable. Just kidding - lol!
     
  7. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Sep 20, 2006

    It is nice that the "bothersome" students leave ever 45 minutes, however on another note, I teach a foreign language and I have three different grades that I teach (6-8) and have 4 sections of each. I consider middle school to be signaficantly more work because if I intend to give homework to each class it is that many more scores for me to enter each day. I have 405 students over two days. It is a ton of paper work to track for kids I don't even know. In addition, I am standing all day b/c while it isn't bad to sit down in elementary with your kids it's kind of hard to justify sitting down for 5 minutes when you only see the kids for 45. You need to talk, walk and see what they are doing. I spend an equal amount of time at school this year and about 2 hours each night at home (a full day on the weekend too) whereas in elementary I only spent one full night a week and one weekend afternoon. The papers were easier to correct and planning became routine because I remembered where we left off each day. I am learning it takes a special person to teach middle school and I am not sure I'm that person. Good luck with your choice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2006
  8. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Sep 20, 2006

    Gosh, I've just been thinking that it takes a special person to teach elementary school, and I'm not sure I'm that person! I never sit down, either, except for reading groups. Actually, I wouldn't ever want my principal to walk in and see me sitting at my desk, ever. I feel like the kids need constant attention.
     
  9. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Let me clarify that....I didn't mean at my desk. I meant ever, on the floor, at a table giving a test, working a math sheet with a small group. Maybe it's just that I only have enough tables for my students and no extra chairs and barely room to walk and I'm frustrated by that. You are right though, I think every grade and subject takes a special person. Just have to find out what you're good at. Go for it if it interests you is my thought :)
     
  10. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Sep 24, 2006

    I have been a preschool teacher for four years, taught first grade for 6 years, and was an aide for 2 years. I too have decided to get my feet wet in the middle school grades. I am thinking about asking for a transfer next year. Anyway, like the others said I think it takes a special person to teach middle school but I am willing to take that chance to see if I am that person. I hope that I do not make a big mistake but I am very stressed here lately with the little kids. I have had a lot of people tell me that I am crazy for wanting to go to middle school but I have to take that chance. You never know until you give it a try and I have heard from both sides. One teacher I worked with taught kindergarten, first grade and then she transfered to 8th and said it was the best thing she had ever done. I also know a teacher that taught a couple of years in 6th and thought she wanted to teach little ones and now she wished she was back at the middle school. I think the one thing that helped motivate me was reading Ron Clarks book The
    Essential 55 and also I think sometimes we need to step out on faith and let the lord lead. With him I know I can do anything.
     
  11. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2006

    Mrs.Oz, that's kind of how I feel, too. I just don't love what I'm doing right now in the elementary school to keep it up, and I've been under a lot of stress, too. Good luck with everything.
     
  12. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Sep 25, 2006

    I think there is obviously stress at both levels. I have taught my entire teaching career in 6th or 7th grade, but aided for two years in the lower elementary grades before I got my first teaching job. I think the posters above that stated it takes a special kind of person to teach middle school is right. It's not just about the work load (which, as an LA teacher is huge for me), but it's about the kids. Adolescents go through huge changes during this time, and they need teachers who are willing to be flexible and give them support in lots of ways. If you feel you can handle the hormones, go for it! Personally, I love the fact that in seventh grade, they are beginning to formulate their own opinions on things, not just spout their parents'; I love that they are beginning to understand "grown-up" jokes; I love that they want independence within structure; I just love being with my seventh graders. I smile every day!
     
  13. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Mrs. R. you could be me! I LOVE my seventh graders too. I have a couple who are very unique in that they are definitely their own person and I ove that. I really love seeing how they are moving from childhood to learning about responsibility, social cues, etc... I love how you can have such wonderful insightful discussions--they are so passionate about what they believe and how they feel, yet they are also able to see how they affect others. It's a great privilege to be able to be a part of an adolescent's life, because they are at the peak of their moral development and you can have an impact on that which can last their whole lives.
     
  14. pastdweller

    pastdweller Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2006

    You know, in late elementary school, you can have another teacher's class for one subject(social studies) while your class goes to that teacher for another subject(science). See my thread on multiple-teacher rotations!
     
  15. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2006

    pastdweller, I do already do this in sixth grade. I teach math to another class while the other teacher does whole-group reading with my class. But I really want to just only teach math!
     
  16. pastdweller

    pastdweller Rookie

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    If there are four teachers in an elementary school grade, there can be a four-teacher rotation. In this sense, each teacher could teach one subject.
     
  17. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2006

    My major was elementary ed., but I specialized in math and then became certified for math grades 7-9. I did all of my student teaching in elementary classes, but when I graduated I found a 7-9 grade math job. I was very hesitant about even applying because I had my heart set on elementary. Long story short, I've been teaching 7-9 grade math for 13 years now. I can't imagine teaching elementary now at all!! I do have a lot of time involved with grading papers--especially tests because I check the process on their problems and not just the final answer (partial credit). My sister teaches fourth grade and she seems to do about the same amount of paperwork, or maybe a little more. Well, she does more papers, but they are easier usually to flip through. The problems I deal with are different than what she deals with. She tends to deal with kids who struggle to learn, parent issues, discipline problems (talkative, disruptive kids). I tend to deal with students with hormonal issues. :) The boys at this age are usually pretty good--other than just general "horseplay" if they think no one is looking. Girls fuss among themselves a lot. Best friends one day, enemies the next. Sometimes you do a lot of "counseling". Overall, middle school fits my personality better. I like to joke around a lot and this age group seems to appreciate teachers who are not so "stiff". Teaching math is great because once you've done it a while, it's all the same. You might find new ways to explain things or new activities, but math is math. If you know your material, there's not that much prep time. Most of my time is spent on the paperwork. My sister spends a lot of her time trying to find activities, etc. for all of her subjects. Some people find that fun, but it would drive me crazy. Besides, I hate recess duty! :)
     
  18. lindyloo

    lindyloo New Member

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    Hi Guys,
    I've got one for you-I taught 1st grade for 20 years and 2 years ago I moved to the high school-YEP! The land of the big people. I teach Intensive Reading for grades 9-12. It's really nice that I teach one subject all day long-at times it can get kind of boring saying the same thing over and over...however, it's kind of neat to be able to actually talk to the kids and kid around with them and they actually get your jokes. Don't get me wrong-I do miss the little guys especially this time of year but I felt like I was getting too old and grouchy to be doing elementary and that just isn't fair to the little munchkins. I do have to admit, the hormones and attitudes :cool: can get to you if you let it but you have to pick your battles. I am a mother of 2 teenagers so I'm used to it. :D All in all it was a good move.
     
  19. historybuff91

    historybuff91 Companion

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    Well this year infact i was re-assigned to be a middle school history teacher and as for the workload and stress it depends on the subject, environment and students. My school has nine periods and out of them i teach 5 including 3 accelerated and two regents classes. I also have lunch duty and studyhall but i dont consider them to be a class. Now i am lucky to work for school that allows teachers to have a free period to grade tests, set up lesson plans, etc... I find that i spend on average and hr to 2 hrs. a day grading papers. Now i do collect homework once a week (i pick a day at random that way students always do their best) so that does add to the workload but i also give a lot of extra credit assignment because i feel that if students are willing to do the work then ill give it to them. But anyways my stress levels normally get high when i fall behined in lesson plans because we have a strict curriculum to stick to and also when my students continue to act up they go through the roof but all and all i love it. It is so such a greater experience, for me atleast. i love the fact that we switch classes and that i get to teach one subject and all and all i love the middle school environment.
     
  20. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2006

    Thanks, everyone. I still want to do middle school and I'm working on the requirements now for my single subject credential. I'm pretty confident that I'll like it.
     
  21. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    I am still awaiting a move to the middle school also. I found out I only lack 1 class of being English endorsed 9-12 and our Asst. Superintendent said I can still apply for an opening with the agreement that I finish that one course. I think I am going to test the water in middle school first. Maybe 6th grade. I am certified to 8th.
     
  22. lindyloo

    lindyloo New Member

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    Hi mrs. oz
    You'll never know until you try! You can do anything for a year.
    Good Luck
     
  23. mandmsmom

    mandmsmom New Member

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    Nov 2, 2006

    I went to high school special education after teaching elementary, specifically kindergarten, for 16 years! What a change! This wasn't my choice to move but had to take the position or have no job. There is a possibility that one of the kindergarten teachers is going to retire and I'm not sure what to do. This isn't my favorite teachng position, kindergarten is my favorite, but I don't know if I could keep up with the demands of the youngsters. Like many of you stated, they require lots and lots of attention.It's helpful hearing everyone's situations.
     
  24. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Nov 5, 2006

    I recently read Ron Clark's Essential 55 and he has motivated me even more to try the middle grades. Hope I am not making a big mistake. Look forward to the move in the near future.
     
  25. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2006

    I'm moving forward with my requirements in the hopes of moving up in the fall. Since I work in a k-6 district, I have to apply to a new district and everything. I'm taking the class that I need starting in 2 weeks and I'm taking the CSET math in January and March. I hope I pass!
     

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