Post # 1
I could use some input from any middle school teachers…
I am studying elementary education and think I want to teach 4th or 5th grade. I spent a semseter in a 2nd grade classroom last semester and am currently in a 1st grade classroom and I just know that young grades are not for me. I need students who are more independent and don’t require so much explicit instruction (in terms of lining up, walking to the carpet, etc.)
We complete year-long student teachings our senior year, and our decision on grade needs to be made Friday. I was prepared to request 5th grade until a new incentive came up today.
Teachers who commit 2 years post-graduation (and complete their student teaching) in a middle school math or science classroom receive a $10,000 grant. On top of that, though, its pretty much a guaranteed job.
Science is my favorite subject and, although it was my least favorite in school, math is my favorite subject to teach. I just don’t know if I’m meant for middle school, and I don’t have much time to find out!
Any advice from fellow teacher bees?
Post # 3
@Meglin: I teach high-school currently so I cannot give you direct opinions but my fiance is a middle school teacher (7th and 8th grade) and he LOVES IT. He thinks they are the most fun students to teach. They are young enough to still be fun and sweet but old enough to be funny, interesting, and independent. My mother was a middle school math teacher for 15 years and is now a middle school administrator and she also loves middle school. She thinks kids are at such a fun age then.
I think you should go for it! My mom said she felt the same way about the little kids but that once she was in a middle school classroom she just fell in love with the age group and has spent her career there!
Good luck 🙂
Post # 4
Thanks for your reply! I still have so much to think about, and not much time.
Post # 5
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
I spent the last 12 years in elementary and loved it. But I’m in my first year teaching 6th grade (Intensive English) and I LOVE it!
I always said I would never teach middle school, but that was when I was in public schools in California. (I’m still not sure I’d be able to hack that.) But lo and behold, I am really enjoying MIddle School.
I think you should go for Middle School math or Science job. It’s a 2-year commitment and then you can decide. It will fly by!
Post # 6
I’m a grade 7 Math and Science teacher and I love the age group! It’s an extremely demanding job and I work every evening and weekend, which would be my main complaint. That and classes of 32 students (!!!) Not much for work-life balance.
Having taught grades 7 to 12, grade 7 is turning out to be my favorite, to my surprise! The kids have so much enthusiasm for learning and they laugh at any joke 😉
My 1st grade 7 year was hell though. I’ve learned to be way more strict, to give more explicit instructions, and to be very much in touch with their parents 😉
Good luck with your decision!
Post # 7
- Wedding: July 2012 - Muckenthaler Cultural Center
I loved teaching middle school!
Post # 8
@Meglin: I used to be a MS teacher. I taught HS too, but loved MS, especially 7th grade. I found that I was a little goofy and the kids could still see me as a authority, but still have fun with my goofiness. I would not recommend 1st year teaching with 8th graders, if at all possible. They will smell the blood and eat you alive. LOL
Once I had a few years of teaching and taught a few of the students in 7th, I enjoyed 8th grade. But my first year and 8th grade almost killed me.
I find at 7th grade they are more independent than 6th grade and not as needy. They still need guidance and very clear directions. But they arent checking in with you every 10 seconds–is this okay, how about this? what about now? (Very immature 7th graders drove me insane!) But they are also developing a more mature sense of humor.
Will that grant help pay down your student loan or be used towards Masters?
Post # 9
I teach 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Each of the grades has pros and cons. You’d be surprised how many things you still need to explicitly teach to kids at those ages. They like to selectively forget:) I have now taught middle school for several years, and while I initially thought I wanted to be high school teacher, I think this is where I will stay. I work in a building that has k-8, and I do enjoy interacting with the little ones, but I can’t imagine dealing with them all day. I like that my kids are old enough to occassionally care on deep conversations and analyze the world, but still young enough to have a sense of wonder, etc. That being said, I work in a very challenging, high-poverty, high-crime district and am lucky to be at the school I am. The last school I worked at was extremely unsafe. Many of our students had criminal records. I’m talking kids walking up and down the halls with ankle bracelets. And it was NOT an alternative school. Just a regular, public school. I was assaulted multiple times, threatened, and cursed at (kids curse, that’s not a big deal–kids constantly calling you a b—, telling you they are going to beat the s*it out of you, etc…that is different) on a daily basis. People who think middle school kids are all still cute never worked in a challenging district. My advice to you is, if you think middle school might be for you, and you plan to work in a fairly safe district, go for it. But if you plan to work in a more challenging district, go into it with your eyes wide open and prepare to toughen up. 🙂
Post # 10
@Meglin: Not a teacher but I have been a counselor in middle school/jr high and I LOVE that age the most! I wouldn’ want to be anywhere else.
Post # 11
@sjhanddab2014: +1 and more power to you! It takes a certain personality and special (very gifted) person to work with middle school students. I work at a high poverty rate school (90% free or reduced lunch) and we have had similar struggles.
@Meglin: MIDDLE SCHOOL CAN BE TOUGH! I have worked at a public, charter middle and high school for the past 2 1/2 years. We currently have grades 5-9 (we are still growing).
My husband teaches middle school students and I work at the same middle school/high schools in administration, but I also co-teach an art class for 5th and 6th graders.
My absolute favorite grades are in this order: 5th, 6th, 9th, 8th and then 7th. I love teaching/working with 5th and 6th graders. They can be sweet, more compliant and want to please the teacher. I avoid 7th and 8th graders like the plague because they are usually confrontational and defiant. I actually enjoy being around the 9th graders.
If you don’t like dealing with high emotions, defiance, hormones, lots of re-directs and generally drama filled children…DON’T DO MIDDLE SCHOOL. I cannot stress this enough. It really takes a special kind of person to be successful and enjoy middle school teaching. If you can learn to be firm and empathetic, it can work out really well though.
Middle schoolers are going through puberty while also figuring out who they “are” as a person. They are becoming more independent (which is good because they are less needy), but if you aren’t firm, they can run you over. It can be a very rewarding experience or a very challenging experience. Our highest turnover is in 7th and 8th grade, or we have teacher continue teaching at our school, but in 5th or 9th grade.
Post # 12
DO. NOT. BECOME. A. TEACHER!
We are treated like shit, don’t get the respect we should from students as well as their parents, and do not get paid nearly as much as we should get for educating our youth.
Post # 13
@prahajess: Thank you for your input! It is only 2 years, so its not like my entire life. But my main concern is that the year-long student teaching will be in middle school, and if I end up not liking it, I’ve received all my experience in middle school. Though, I suppose that is true with any grade I choose to student teach in…
@Scintillante: Thank you for your response; the fact that they require a more strict teacher is what concerns me. I consider myself strict, but I’m not sure how to know if I’m up to par for this age group.
@KoiKove: 8th grade definitely scares me! I don’t know if I have a choice on whether to do 7th or 8th, but I’d definitely be nervous as a first year teacher in 8th grade lol. Are you not teaching anymore? And the $10k grant can be used for anything. Because our student teaching is for a full year, I would use some of it to help live on. I’m beyond nervous for the financial implications otherwise… The rest would go towards some loans (I will graduate with about $9k in debt) and savings.
@sjhanddab2014: Thanks for your input! After doing my 2nd grade internship last semester and my current 1st grade internship, I know for SURE that the little ones aren’t for me lol. I tutor a 7th grader and she was fascinated by JFK; we ended up having a 20 minute conversation and exploration on aspects of his life, and she was so curious and intrigued by this man whom she had never heard of! I loved the complexity of her interest in history.
@bmo88: Wow, very great insight! Thank you for your honest perspective. Something about 5th grade is enticing to me, which adds to my confusion.
@Rubbs: I know how hard of a career this is going to be; I’m thankful for the thorough preparation my school requires of its teacher candidates, because I learn so many things in the classroom that are never discussed in books!
Post # 14
@Meglin: I did it for 5-6 years. I loved it, but it took so much energy that it was affecting my health. I’m an outgoing introvert. So I like interacting with people, but it sucks the life out of me. With teaching I was ON all the time. You never have a down/easy day. Even when you got home, there was work to do. I could never have down time to recharge my batteries.
In the end I had to choose the job that made my heart sing or my health and mental well-being. So I had to leave teaching. Luckily I found a job teaching adults, but I still miss being in a 7th grade classroom.
Post # 15
@Meglin: I am not a teacher, but I am a school psychologist and just wanted to chime in to say that in some schools 5th grade is in the middle school- so is the case at the school I work in.
So you may be able to teach 5th grade and still get that grant. I would look into the specifics of that is considered middle school.
Post # 16
@Meglin: I teach high school, but have also taught middle school and elementary school. I always thought I wanted to teach the little ones-kindergarten, 1st grade, etc..and it just worked out that there were job opportunities at the upper grade levels when I was doing leave replacements and searching for full time jobs. I wound up loving every grade level I moved up to! Literally, when I did 5th grade coming from 2nd, that was my fave, then when I did 7th moving up from 5th, that was my fave, now I do a mix of all high school grades and love that too. I have personally found that when teaching older kids, it’s best to be true to your real self and allow your personality to shine through, as a way to connect with the students. Don’t have any fear and just be you! Issues with puberty/hygiene aside, you’re going to love it 😉