Middle School Teacher Jobs
In between elementary and high school, middle school students can offer the best of both worlds to educators.
Many of the students are young enough to still express a keen interest in school and their teachers. The imagination, excitement, and spontaneity of young children is still often present, yet the students are increasingly able to think critically, make opinions, and have a sophisticated sense of humor. This creates a dynamic, ever-changing teaching atmosphere for middle school teachers, which makes it an appealing teaching job for many people.
Middle school teachers can hold a variety of degrees based upon which state the school resides in. Some teachers have a license for grades k-8 while others have a secondary license in a specific subject. Alternatively, some states now have a middle childhood certification program where teachers earn a degree in middle childhood and specialize in two core subjects: math, science, language arts, or social studies.
The average salary for a middle school teacher is US$53,430 according to 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The starting salary averages around US$33,200 and increases as the teacher gains experience. Wages also depend upon the location of the school.
During the 1900’s there was a movement to create junior high schools. This school structure remains and typically houses students from 7th to 8th grade. Just as the name implies, they are similar to a high school but a smaller version.
Currently, middle schools have been proposed by some education experts as a better arrangement to help students transition from elementary to high school. Middle schools are designed to foster the emotional and academic growth of students during a time period of great developmental growth for the students. A middle school often contains students from 6th to 8th grade. It is not uncommon for the span to include 5th or 9th grade also.
Middle schools focus on a team approach to teaching. Each of the subject area teachers work together to create interdisciplinary learning experiences. Also, the team meets to discuss and help students who are struggling. Large school districts may have more than one team per grade.
Every staff person in a middle school is regarded as a person students can count on. An advisory period is often built into the day where all staff members work with a small group of students. They work on service learning and character education. Moreover, the advisor is seen as someone students can trust and confide in.
Middle school teachers are required to provide instruction that challenges students, yet lets them experience success. Lessons need to be adapted to the needs of the individual students. A variety of teaching methods should be used to engage the students in purposeful learning.
Besides planning and providing daily lessons, middle school teachers are responsible for assessing student knowledge. Grading papers, recording grades, and making student reports are necessary.
In addition, middle school teachers need to establish contact with parents and work with administrators and other school professionals.
Dealing with a heavy work load and students going through a tumultuous period of growth can cause burn out among some teachers at the middle school level. However, many teachers thrive from the energy of middle school students. They have reached an age where they are able to think creatively and desire to make the world a better place. The dedicated middle school teacher will be amply rewarded by the relationships he forms with his students and the impact he has on their lives.
Visit the following resources for more information on middle school education.
National Middle School Association
Middle Web: Exploring Middle School Reform