Middle School Teaching
Some teachers will tell you that middle school teaching is the most difficult, while others will say that it is the most rewarding age to teach. After all, you are dealing with young teenagers who are just figuring out their place in this world. With your guidance they can all become well adjusted, educated people who can go on to choose whatever they want to be in life. This is why being a middle school teacher is so exciting, and challenging.
What to Expect?
In middle school you are dealing with teens or young adults ages 11-16 (ages vary by school) who are learning to form their own opinions about what they learn. While the eagerness to learn is still there, you will also find a passion to really learn a subject by asking questions about it, rather than just accepting the lesson or concept as it is presented. This gives teachers a chance to get into a topic or lesson in some real depth so that both student and instructor understand it fully.
At this level you also get a bit more flexibility in what you teach, as there are more subjects available. Rather than teach a science class in elementary school, in middle school you can teach specific subjects such as biology or chemistry. Social science is also generally broken out into different sub-topics such as history, psychology, etc. This allows the teacher to learn more about a subject while they teach it.
If there are some subjects that you know in depth you may be asked to teach an advanced placement (AP) class for kids who are learning ahead of their peers. As an AP teacher you and your class will be able to move from the standard curriculum to more complicated concepts. Science, math, and English are standard subjects for AP classes, so if you enjoy these subjects you may want to look for a teaching position in a middle school that offers advanced placement for the subjects you want to teach.
As a teacher in a middle school you can be a mentor to many young minds, and help them become well-rounded citizens. Besides teaching the curriculum you will also have a chance to model patience, acceptance, good morals and more traits that young people need to learn as they grow older. Many children will not have a positive role model at home, so they will look to you and their other teachers for guidance. Whether you choose to or not, your actions as a middle school teacher will be closely watched and likely emulated by those you teach.
Yes, teaching middle school can sometimes prove to be extremely challenging, frustrating, and difficult but the payoff is that you get in exchange for all of this hard work is significant. For many students you can be a role model, a mentor, and someone they look up to, all while getting to teach a subject (or several subjects) you love. See if you can rise to the challenge as the next great middle school teacher by searching for jobs in your area and meeting with school officials to discuss your future.