What a new teacher needs to know

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by AMAHOGANY, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. AMAHOGANY

    AMAHOGANY Rookie

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    Apr 13, 2008

    Hi Everyone,

    I need some advice don't we all(LOL) I am thinking of embarking on changing careers from business to education. I want to teach secondary social studies but I hear history jobs are hard to come by is that true? Also what would you all share about teaching middle school. At times I hear middle school is the worst is that true? For all teachers out there if you could share one thing with me about teaching and what it takes to survive past my first year what would it be? Any middle school teachers that want to share there experience with this age job please feel free? Any and all advice is GREATLY appreciated. :help:
    :thanks:
     
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  3. KCTeacher

    KCTeacher Rookie

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    Apr 14, 2008

    Go for it! This is my first year teaching and I too am a career changer. I was in the banking/mortgage industry and I decided to become a teacher. I have heard that it is difficult to get a job in areas other than Math, Science, LA, and Spec. Ed. I am a first year math teacher teaching 7th grade. Yes it is a tough age to work with, but once you set the law down it's not too bad. I would say to student teach in different grades to decide on your own which grade it right for you. Many people told me never to do middle school and others said never to do high school. Everyone has their own opinion so you need to form your own one from experience. Also, my advice it not to quit. The first year is the hardest. I wanted to quit so many times and my family, friends, and principal convinced me to stick it out, and I'm glad I did. There actually is a "first year teacher curve" which shows that basically everyone hits rock bottom during your first year, but it gets better after that. I'm glad I stuck it out and my advice is to go for it! It isn't just fun and games though, it is a lot of work and people don't realize that. You always can go back to what you are doing now if you reeeaaally hate it but if you give it a chance I think you'll like it.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 14, 2008

    If you have the time to volunteer or observe or even to sub in a variety of grades, then I would do that. This will allow you to find your niche in what grade level you think you would be most comfortable in. Good luck! I'm hoping to get into middle school English after teaching kinder and 2nd grade.
     
  5. shikshak

    shikshak Rookie

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    May 9, 2008

    new teacher need help with Home work question

    Hello,
    I am interviewing today for a middle grade (7th, 8th) math position. I have taught 2 years in 6th grade as an elementary teacher and I had a self contained class of 30 students.
    My question is how much homework do you assign in 7th and 8th grade as a math teacher, and how can you grade it on time. When you have 6 periods a day with 30 students in each class, that means grading 180 students' work everyday is not practical.I have 6 hours to the interview, if anyone gets this message on time, please give me some advice.
    Thank you in advance.
     
  6. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    May 27, 2008

    First year is about survival. You get through and next year is so much easier its not funny.

    Mathwise, my amazing principal would assign 9-12 problems. Literally the "left side problems on this page." It gave a representative sample.
     
  7. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2008

    I too am a career changer and just finished my second year of teaching at age 52! I am an 8th grade language arts teacher and love it. As someone suggested, I did start out by subbing and working in the after-school tutoring program before I took the dive into a teaching career. I LOVE middle school. Grammar school kids need too much hand-holding and the high school kids are too independent (not to mention so much bigger than I am). Middle schoolers are at a neat age - independent for the most part, still somewhat easily cowed by authority, starting to really explore the "outside" world. They are different from day to day - sometimes hour to hour. The first year was tough - but this year was definitely better. If you are anything like I am, you'll learn more than the kids do those first two years.

    I too was told that math/science/sp ed were the easiest areas to find jobs, but I teach LA and am certified for social studies too and still got a job. It depends on where you live and luck as well.

    Good luck!
     
  8. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2008

    A bit late for your interview but...

    I student taught 8th grade math and will be teaching 6th grade math in the fall. I am going to use a dice roll every morning to determine how homework is graded. If it lands on a 1 or a 2, I grade it for completion. If it lands on a 3 or a 4, I collect it and grade it for completion and the accuracy of one problem I chose in advance (but, of course didn't tell the kids!). If it lands on a 5 or a 6, then I collect it and grade the entire thing for accuracy and completion. This way, they never know if I'm going to collect it or not. We'll see how it goes! :)
     
  9. HMD

    HMD Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2008

    I was glad to see this thread. I just got my passing score on my MTEL exams (MA teaching exams) and now can get my preliminary license in middle school math. I, too, am changing from business. I do not have formal teacher training yet so thanks to all who posted advice. I hope more gets posted!

    On that note, any must-read books for someone going to teach in middle school?

    Thanks,
    Heather
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Must read: The First Day of School by Harry Wong.

    Things a first year MS teacher should know:
    1. They are still kids and LOVE being treated like kids. Candy, stickers, ink stamps, etc. ALL WORK WONDERS with Middle School kids.
    2. They read people very, very well. As a result, you must be yourself. You cannot be a discipline hawk if you're not one by nature and vice versa.
    3. Motivation is 90% of the battle. For me, this is the one thing I wish I had known. If you get the kids on your side the rest is easy. I started off thinking discipline was what mattered... I was way, way wrong. If your kids are motivated discipline is a non-issue.
    4. Going with number 2, don't be afraid to love your kids. They will read it and react to it.
    5. Any teacher who spends most of their time complaining about their kids isn't worth your time.

    I absolutely adore teaching MS social studies. I never thought I would. I hated MS myself and I heard all the horror stories. Thankfully God knew better and put me here. I'm now 5 years in and loving it. My job is truly a joy. At my school we have hired 5 new social studies teachers in the last 3 years so while the jobs aren't falling out of the sky they are not as rare as rumored.
     
  11. HMD

    HMD Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2008

    I just ordered the Wong book! Glad to hear it's a "must read".
     
  12. stody2

    stody2 Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2008

    My first year was horrible. I got credentialed in WA and got a job in CA on a phone interview. I had a very unsupportive principal with extremely high expectations. My advice, visit the school and ask lots of questions before accepting the job. When you get the job, ask the principal and special ed teachers what exactly is expected of you. Last year was much better--new principal. This year I will be in a new district at my dream school. :)
     
  13. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Jul 16, 2008

    I love middle schoolers, especially 7th graders. That's the right formative grade where you can really have an effect on their personality. They're young enough to want to learn things but old enough to carry an intelligent conversation and hold opinions.
     
  14. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I agree with what everyone else says - middle school is definetly where it is at!! I won't change grades for the world!

    One of the best books I have read is by Rick Wormeli - Day One and Beyond. It is focused on teaching middle school and is full of helpful advice and practical examples. I have used a lot of his suggestions in my classrom.
     
  15. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I'm glad to hear you all say MS is where it's at, because I'm a career changer too (at 49) and I'm going to go for it. I'm kicking myself for listening to all those people telling me not to go into teaching, but I'm finally listening to myself.
     

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