A middle school teacher teaches and guides students who are transitioning into adolescence from elementary school. Middle school prepares young minds for the more challenging tasks that they are bound to encounter in high school and as a teacher, you will play a very integral role in that preparation.
Not all school districts in the United States have middle school as the concept is fairly new. As such, middle school teachers can expect to teach in any of the 13,100 middle schools out of the 97,000 public schools in the United States. As a middle school teacher, you will be teaching students the subject that you specialize in. You could be handling English, history, biology, social studies and math. If your expertise is in the special subjects, you could handle art, music or physical education. In some middle schools, you could be teaching non-native students how to speak the English language if you are an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher.
Aside from teaching students in the classroom, your other responsibilities include preparing lesson plans, giving assignments, administering tests, checking papers and computing student grades. You could also be discussing a student’s progress with their parents and your fellow teachers. You could also be organizing and chaperoning field trips and advising student clubs.
To succeed as a middle school teacher, you need to be patient since you’ll be teaching students of different academic abilities and interests. Some of them will be able to understand the concept you present while others will have a very difficult time comprehending it so you need to be patient with those who are struggling with a lesson. Another trait that you will need to possess is that of resourcefulness, especially if you are working in a school where teaching materials aren’t really complete or up-to-date. You need to find a way to make students understand even when you have very limited teaching-learning resources at hand. Finally, you also need to be able to communicate well since this is going to be your main mode of delivering lessons to your students.
Why Become A Middle School Teacher
Teaching middle school, like all other kinds of teaching careers, is a calling. It takes a very dedicated individual to become a mentor, counselor and friend to young students rolled into one. Thus, one reason to become a middle school teacher is because of the fulfillment working with young people give. Another is the fact that teachers get to go on vacation or do their research when school is out. For those who have kids, becoming a middle school teacher gives them the opportunity to go to school together and monitor their development and progress. A positive job outlook and good pay make this career an ideal profession to strive for.
Middle School Teacher Work Environment
Middle school teachers work in both public and private schools. The nature of the work is fulltime, usually following the 10-month school year. They enjoy a couple of months break in the summer. In some school districts that observe a year-round schedule, middle school teachers work eight weeks straight and then have a one week break before a new school session starts. In these schedules, they also have a five-week break in the winter.
Although very fulfilling, teachers also have to deal with the stresses and demands that come with this profession. Their work usually does not end after school hours because they have to check papers or prepare lesson plans for the following day’s lesson. Those who have clubs usually need to stay after hours as club activities are mostly held after class hours.
Middle School Teacher Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of middle school teachers, except special and career/technical education teachers, is $56,630. Middle school special and career/technical education teachers got $56,830. Comparatively speaking, elementary teachers except those teaching special education were paid $56,320. Secondary school teachers had an average mean annual wage of $58,170.
Middle School Teacher Career Outlook
The job outlook of middle school teachers is quite positive in the next few years due to projected increases in enrollment and reduced student-teacher ratios. From the decade covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of middle school teachers is expected to rise 12 percent, a rate that is similar as the average for all job types.
Aspiring middle school teachers need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the state’s requirements, they can major in the content area they wish to teach in or have elementary education as their major. They also need to take up a teacher preparation program while working towards their undergraduate degree. Teachers who want to work in a public school must hold a license or be certified. Those working in private schools usually don’t need to undergo licensure or certification.