View Full Version : Elementary School Teacher wants to know: Would I like teaching middle school?
I already teach fifth grade. My certification is K-8. If I take the math Praxis test, I could be "highly qualified" to teach middle school math.
I think I'd like to move up to middle school. Here's why:
I've been teaching elementary school for 22 years....I'm ready for a change.
I love teaching math and would be able to teach it all day.
I like the idea of having a "prep period" each day instead of taking one where I can.
I feel I deal with snotty attitudes effectively.
I think middle schoolers are more likely to "get" my jokes.
So...Middle School teachers what do you think? Would I like teaching middle school?
01-31-2005, 09:58 PM
I'm not exactly the person you'd best like to answer your question, but I'm gonna give you my two cents anyway. I subbed, long term, at a junior high (7-9) and my mom taught there for thirty-some years and I spent a lot of time in her classroom.
No way would I ever make junior high my first choice. To me, they're all the pain of high school without the charm of gradeschool. Sure, there're some great kids in junior high, either because they're still sweet little babies or because they're such wonderful young adults. But then there's those Others. The ones who just don't seem to be from this planet. I dunno if it's hormones, video games, rock 'n' roll, or just plain temporary brain damage like one researcher explained, but it's not pretty and it can infect any student at any time.
The thing is, some people like that kind of stuff. It's a new challenge for every day. The kids are at a point where you can really help them grow into being great people and set them up for the rest of their lives, the way you sometimes can't in high school.
Ultimately, it all depends upon who you are. Maybe you can teach summer school at a junior high this year or at the very least set up some observation times. See if you like the crazy frustration. It wore me out, but you might thrive on it. Good luck!
02-01-2005, 06:15 AM
I teach preschool; I have no first-hand experience to offer.
OTOH, I have parented two sons (now in HS and college) through the middle school years. I befriended several of their teachers--these educators did love the challenge. Rarely were they bored or complacent. They were in it for the long run, too: there was a low teacher turnover rate at the school.
Ashes Ashes offers many of the thoughts and opinions that ran through my head when I read your post, Gail.
Middle school is such a crucial time. The difference between 6th and 8th grade can be striking. The path to adult life is indeed being set. Meanwhile, these kids have hormones on top of hormones.
There is a special place in heaven for middle school teachers.
Gail, perhaps you could take a day and observe at a couple of schools?
02-01-2005, 08:15 AM
As a Crossing Guard who has worked at both elementary and middle schools, and as a tutor that has tutored both elementary and middle school aged kids, I would guess that teaching middle school is probably more challenging than teaching elementary school.
People generally hold certain maturity expectations for children at particular ages, but when they start transitioning into teenagers this line blurs. Hence very immature/very mature kids all over the board.
I myself do not enjoy working at middle schools as a Crossing Guard. Kids in middle school are much better at testing what they can get away with (where elementary school kids might be too afraid, plus way more parents afterschool at elementary schools than middle schools) and as they start consolodating into cliques they often develop a 'pack mentality' which makes them bold enough to do things like hurl glass bottles at me from behind and setting unpleasant things in my chair in the hopes I will sit on it.
And the next time I see some 13 year old jaywalking on my beat.... :mad:
02-01-2005, 03:16 PM
I don't think I could handle it. middle school kids are old enough to cause a lot of very real trouble, but not old enough to know not to. It's also an age where kids are old enough to know that what they do in middle school doesn't really matter in the end, and they are much more concerned with the crazy hormones racing through their bodies than school. We used to delight in making our teachers cry and take pride in the fact that the substitute teachers wouldn't come to our school. I feel sorry for everyone who tried to teach us.
02-01-2005, 05:17 PM
Can somebody please explain to this clueless furriner the education hierarchy in the US, and the attendant age groups? I understand your "elementary" is more or less like our "primary", but terms like "middle school" confuse me, and I think "college" is a different thing too.
K - 6 (ages 5-ish to 12- 13 ish) is Primary School (sometimes K - 2 is refered to as Infants' School but that is just a piece of nomenclature, and it will in reality be part of the primary school). Years 7 - 12 are High School, with the "senior years" of 11 and 12 being optional - most kids do them. After that, it's university, or "college" (usually more applied or trade-based than university).
Thanks in advance, and sorry for the hijack.
Miss Purl McKnittington
02-01-2005, 05:55 PM
TheLoadedDog, grades go like this in the US:
K-4 -- elementary school
5-8 -- middle school
9-12 -- high school
Anything above that is at the college or technical school level.
Some schools call 6th, 7th, and 8th grades junior high school, which made absolutely no sense to me. My teachers tried to tell my class that in order to make us behave ourselves, I think. This all, of course, is in my own experience.
02-02-2005, 06:25 AM
In Colorado (at least, in Denver):
Grades K through 5 are elementary.
Grades 6 through 8 are middle school.
9 through 12 is high school. 11-12 is optional, but most kids attend.
02-02-2005, 09:24 AM
Mrs. Kunilou has taught all grade levels from K-12, and definitely considers the ages of 12-14 to be a certain kind of hell. She thinks it's the hormones. When I was working with our kids' classes, I noticed a certain swagger (for lack of a better description) in the 5th graders, and I can only assume it got worse when they moved up to middle school.
One of the kids' high school teachers once told me "anyone who wants to teach middle school as their first choice is a special gift from God."
02-02-2005, 09:40 AM
I've been teaching since 1985. Three of those years were 7th grade, the rest all high school. If I came to work tomorrow and was informed that I had been transferred to the middle school, I would resign on the spot. As a group, children of that age are grindingly, soul-destroyingly hard to work with on a daily basis. Their emotional instability due to puberty has a lot to do with it.
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