Kids between grades six and eight are in a tough time in their lives. They’re in that “tween” area where they’re trying to figure out the kind of person they’re going to become in the future. They have tons of distractions and pressures, and it requires a special kind of person to be able to keep them focused on learning and continue to build on the passion for knowledge they hopefully had through elementary school.
This is where middle school teachers come into the picture. Explore the requirements and qualifications you need to become a middle school teacher in your state, and the job responsibilities you’ll have.
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What a Middle School Teacher Does
A middle school teacher is specialized in delivering instruction to students in sixth through eighth grades, though in some districts middle school can be just grades 7-8, or even through ninth grade, depending on how the district divides student population. During these years, the students will strengthen the basics they learned in elementary school, and add to this knowledge with deeper information, and more formalized lessons.
The ultimate goal through middle school is to prepare students for the kind of education they’ll get in high school. This means the middle school teacher gradually formalizes lessons more, and delivers fundamental information which serves as a baseline for future studies. Courses such as pre-algebra, for example, are essential to a middle school education.
Skills Required for Middle School Teachers
Middle school teachers, unlike elementary teachers, will focus on a specific subject or two. Thus, at this level you will see English teachers, math teachers, social studies teachers, and the like. Within their field of study, teachers might teach multiple specific courses. A science teacher, for example, could go over biology, chemistry and basic physics, while an English teacher deals with writing, grammar and literature.
This means teachers need a breadth of knowledge in their chosen field. They must also be able to prepare and deliver effective lesson plans, be detail-oriented, have a solid attention span, be great communicators, and have strong collaborative skills. They need sensitivity towards the needs of their students, and must be able to stage interventions for students with learning or behavioral difficulties.
A teacher will have to fill many different duties on a given day. They might serve as a group instructor, a one-on-one tutor, a chaperone of dances and field trips, a lunchroom monitor, an exam and study hall proctor, and will have to put in work grading papers and preparing lesson plans outside of school hours.
Becoming a Middle School Teacher
Working as a middle school teacher can be exciting and rewarding. In order to enter this field you’ll first want to explore your state’s pathway to certification. Usually this will involve, among other things, gaining your government clearances to work with children, a four-year or graduate degree program, practical internship as a student teacher, and certification testing in your field of focus. If you’re looking to enter this career path, look at the state requirements elsewhere on our website and get started today!