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Teaching Middle School

Edward Said:

What are the challenges of teaching high school vs. middle school?

We Answered:

I'm going to answer this in the reverse. Middle school students are much more immature than high school students. They are not looking ahead to college and jobs, and are not aware that in a few years they will be in the adult world. Middle school students are more dependent. The entire middle school concept revolves around protecting the children and supporting them.

In high school, the students are more mature, although they have much to learn, but don't know it. They think they are independent, but when they need help, they do not have the same amount of support as they have been used to. Although 9th graders are not that different from middle schoolers in their behaviors and views, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders are more well behaved, more focused on their graduations and their careers, and are looking forward to the colleges (or jobs) they will be attending.

However, that really depends on the community you are in. So I'm going to make a suggestion. I suggest that you take a leave day and go visit the high school. Get permission from the high school administration beforehand, and spend the entire day there. Talk to the teachers, have lunch with them, observe the kids, and speak to the people in your department. That will give you a better idea of how the high school is different from the middle school and whether you would be happy in high school.

I taught middle school for many many years. I was interviewed for one high school program about 15 years ago. I observed for a day and decided I didn't like the school and I wasn't impressed with the administration or the tenor of the school. I declined the position. Then about 8 years ago I was offered another high school position. After a day of observing, I loved the school and was there until I retired.

Priscilla Said:

When it comes to middle school teaching, would a district be more inclined to hire a man over a woman teacher?

We Answered:

I know plenty of male middle school teachers. I also know plenty of female middle school teachers. I know men whom students walk all over. I also know women whom I've been intimidated by while working with them as a sub in their school. The discipline thing isn't gender-related.

Herbert Said:

Should I get a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree or continue teaching middle school?

We Answered:

Sounds like you should get your DMA degree. Although you love your job, the fact you mentioned you "like to open doors to ... [your] future [teaching] in the college level" suggest you don't see yourself at your current job for the rest of your life. I'm sure you'll be satisfied teaching where you're at, but you can't foresee the future and the obstacles that might come in your way (like losing your job at your current job and not having as fulfilling a job at another middle school). Seize the opportunity, I say.

Cynthia Said:

What are some positive things about teaching middle school?

We Answered:

M.S. is great. You get a planning period or two (none in elem), don't have to deal with silly issues like bulletin boards, and have interesting students who don't view you as their mother or father. Unlike h.s., you don't have to worry that your grades or comments are going to keep someone from attending college.

Dave Said:

What are the pros and cons of teaching middle school vs. high school?

We Answered:

my point of view...i think middlel school students are usually immature. highschool students are more responsible.

Discuss It!