Middle school teachers are experienced professionals who handle students who are between the 5th and 8th grades and will typically be aged 11 to 14 years old. They are responsible for teaching middle school students more advanced and complex subjects, such as language, history, and social studies. They also hold the duty of guiding their students through adolescence and making sure that they develop well emotionally and socially.
Middle school teachers are very valuable because they play an active role in a child’s early teenage years. This is a phase in a child’s life where their bodies and minds slowly change and transition into adolescence. This makes having a compassionate and caring middle school teacher crucial.
A typical workday for a middle school teacher begins with them formulating lesson plans before class and then evaluating that same lesson plan thereafter. During class, middle school teachers teach their designated subject in accordance with their lesson plan while also managing their students’ attention, behavior, and mood.
What Is a Middle School Teacher?
A middle school teacher teaches 5th-grade to 8th-grade students who are typically aged between 11 to 14 years old. From the core subjects taught in elementary school, middle school teachers teach more advanced forms of those core subjects and then include more complex subjects in their lesson plans. In teaching these subjects, middle school teachers will typically engage their students and encourage them to think more critically, as well as encourage their students to express their personality and creativity by giving them unique and challenging problem-solving tasks.
Unlike other types of teachers, middle school teachers handle students who are in their early teens. This is a phase in a person’s life where their bodies undergo drastic changes, not only physically but also mentally. It is also a stage where the child starts to develop their own individuality and forms of expression. Part of a middle school teacher’s job is to guide these children through these changes and developments.
Being charged with these responsibilities makes middle school teachers highly valuable for students and the educational system. The presence of an effective middle school teacher can spell a substantial difference between a proper adolescent member of society and someone who is not.
Why Become a Middle School Teacher?
There can be many reasons someone would want to become a middle school teacher. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Guide students during adolescence – becoming a middle school teacher is an opportunity to become a positive role model for the younger generation.
- Introduce students to complex subjects – teaching others something new can be thrilling for some.
- To make a difference – for others, the very idea of teaching young children means making a difference in the world, and that is a good enough motivation.
Middle school teachers are motivated individuals who not only possess a passion for teaching but also for helping others grow and become better people. Middle school students can be rowdy and complex. For some, navigating this complexity and making positive change is a powerful motivation and reason for entering the world of middle school teaching.
What are the Responsibilities of a Middle School Teacher?
The responsibilities of a middle school teacher can vary by industry, but typically, these include:
- Crafting lesson plans – lesson plans for middle school students must be optimized and adapted to their curious, adolescent minds.
- Creating a safe learning environment – beyond teaching and learning, the middle school learning environment must be secure and supportive for middle school students.
- Teaching complex subjects – imparting knowledge on advanced subjects.
- Guiding young children’s emotional and social growth – adolescence holds a lot of ambiguities, and it is the duty of middle school teachers to help their students navigate this.
How Does a Day In a Life of a Middle School Teacher Look Like?
Middle school teachers typically begin their day by preparing for classes and reviewing lesson plans that they will adjust as necessary throughout the year, ideally after the end of every class. Every middle school teacher’s goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment for their students, one that fosters learning and growth. Middle school teachers actively pursue this goal even before class starts. In addition to teaching lessons and guiding class discussions, middle school teachers may also meet with individual students or groups to provide extra support, grade assignments, attend faculty meetings or parent-teacher conferences, and develop new lesson plans.
During class, middle school teachers typically introduce the day’s lesson and objectives to their students. They must be attentive to individual students who may be struggling to understand the material or who are not engaged in the lesson. They may use various strategies to encourage participation and critical thinking, including group work, class discussions, and asking thought-provoking questions. Middle school teachers must also be able to adapt their teaching style to meet the diverse needs of their students, ensuring that each student learns and grows.
As class ends, middle school teachers may give their students a preview of what to expect in the next class and assign homework or other tasks to be completed before the next session. After class is where they review their progress in relation to the lesson plan they created and make adjustments as needed. Middle school teachers may also grade assignments and tests, collaborate with fellow teachers, or communicate with parents to provide updates on the progress of their students. As with most teachers, this is usually when middle school teachers reflect on themselves and their class.
What are the Common Skills of a Middle School Teacher?
These are some of the common skills an aspiring middle school teacher must have:
- Excellent communication skills – this allows middle school teachers to communicate well with their students, their students’ parents, and their colleagues and coworkers.
- Empathy – to guide middle school students through adolescence.
- Effective classroom management skills – to foster and maintain a suitable learning environment
- Subject knowledge – to ensure that middle school students are learning quality knowledge and information.
Where Does a Middle School Teacher Work?
There are various industries that employ middle school teachers. These are some of those industries:
- Middle schools – middle schools can be public or private, and each will have its own system of learning or teaching method.
- Colleges and professional schools – a middle school teacher can also teach others on how to become a middle school teacher. This can be teaching others for their bachelor’s degree or through an alternative teaching program.
- Religious organizations – parochial schools employ middle school teachers to teach their young students, typically teaching the history and values of their religion as well.
In all working environments, aspiring middle school teachers can expect to handle children between the ages of 11 to 14. This can make their working environment more difficult, considering this is the stage where young children transform into teenagers.
What Is the Salary for a Middle School Teacher?
The salary of a middle school teacher varies by state and industry, but on average, middle school teachers make about $61,320 annually.
The highest-paying states for middle school teachers are New York, California, and Massachusetts, while the lowest-paying states for middle school teachers are West Virginia, South Dakota, and Mississippi.
The average entry-level salary for middle school teachers is about $48,020 annually. The factors that can impact this amount typically include location, licenses and certifications, relevant work experience, and educational credentials.
What is the Job Outlook for a Middle School Teacher?
The average growth rate for middle school teacher jobs is about 4% yearly. At the current rate, it is projected that there are about 47,300 job openings for middle school teachers every year.
The states with the highest demand for middle school teachers are California, Texas, and New York, while the states with the lowest demand for middle school teachers are Orlando, Alaska, and Nevada.
How to Become a Middle School Teacher?
The steps to becoming a middle school teacher vary by state and by industry, but all will at least have some of these requirements:
- A bachelor’s degree in a relevant middle school subject
- A teaching certification
- A state license to teach
- A Master’s degree in a relevant middle school subject
The usual path to becoming a middle school teacher is by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a core middle school subject, such as science or history, and then obtaining the necessary certification or license to teach. The alternative path is to go through an alternative teacher preparation program approved by the state and then obtain the same teaching license.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Middle School Teacher?
The time it takes to become a middle school teacher depends on several factors, but typically, it can take between 5 to 7 years. This includes obtaining a bachelor’s degree, applying for the certification or state license to teach, and, in some cases, a master’s degree. In some states with lesser requirements, the time may be shorter.
The alternative path can either be shorter or longer depending on if you already have a bachelor’s degree or not. If you already have one, but it’s not related to a middle school subject, then going the alternative path may only take 1 or 2 years. Otherwise, starting from taking a bachelor’s can add up the time together, making it longer.