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What are middle schoolers really like?

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What are middle schoolers really like?
Old 05-08-2020, 05:16 PM
 
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Hi! I have taught 4th grade for 28 years and I love that age. My son will graduate tomorrow and is being offered a 7/8th grade ELA/social studies job in my district for next year. He student taught in 2nd and has always dreamed of teaching younger kids but he REALLY wants a job and will take this to get his foot in the door.

So, whatís it really like to teach middle schoolers? I coached girls 25 years ago in basketball but kids are way different now!


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Middle Schoolers
Old 05-09-2020, 04:36 AM
 
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Despite their bad rep, some of us actually like teaching that age. Some positives:

They can be fiercely loyal to teachers and adults in their life that they like. Treat them with respect and they'll do the same.
They just want to 'save face' in front of their peers. You earn their respect by not embarrassing them or others.
Most with special needs have been identified by middle school, which is nice when you think about how hard it can be to document and get help for students in the early grades.
Many have good hearts and want to save the world. They know about the problems our society faces and they are eager to make a difference.
Some of them actually like to sit around and chat with their teachers. They'll share an awful lot if you listen!

The other side:
Many of them aren't motivated to please the teacher like younger children are.
The attitude is real. Let it go unless it's disruptive or blatantly disrespectful.
Some of them are dealing with a lot of pressure to be great academics and/or athletes. Teachers need to know when to lay off the pressure for these kids.
Some parents have given up on their kids by middle school. They don't want to hear about attention, work ethic, etc. anymore after years of similar reports by other teachers. Teachers have to get creative to reach those kids.


I hope your son enjoys his new position!
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Old 05-09-2020, 08:20 AM
 
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Everything YouthCantKnow said is very true. The one thing I learned from one of the other teachers I work with is to build relationships with the kids. Best advice I was ever given.

They want to know you care and when they do, they usually do their best for you. It's not about being their friend. It's about listening to them or noticing what's going on with them. Letting them know you are there for them.

Even though they would never admit it, they like structure and routine. It makes them feel safe. Yes, they will push your buttons, but you learn to ignore a lot of the nonsense. When you can't, you let them know that they are stepping over a boundary and there could be consequence.

I've had many student teachers and college students observe in my room, the one thing I tell them is that it doesn't matter how well-versed in your subject you are...if you can't manage your classroom, you won't be teaching them anything.
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Old 05-09-2020, 11:05 AM
 
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They are a complex mixture of young adult and child.

Hormones are out of control, and they don't know how to deal with all of the physical and emotional changes. They want you to treat them like adults, but they also want you to baby them. You can have an adult conversation with them, and they have a great sense of humor developing. They will also pick their nose and fart.

They smell bad most of the time. This happens in spite of their hygiene habits.

They will, however, do just about anything for you if they think that you truly care for them.

You cannot have a thin skin and teach middle school. They have no filter, and they will say pretty much whatever forms in their head. Don't take it personally. They need routine and a structure. So much of their world is upside down at that age that they really need something stable.

I've taught both high school and middle school. At high school level it was more about the content, and at the middle school it's more about the behavior and the emotional needs of the kids.
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Old 06-13-2020, 06:17 PM
 
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Middle school aged children arenít very hard to understand. I have always went with the saying be the person you needed when you were that age. They need stability, structure, but also freedom and time to express themselves. Students want to be heard and not fussed at all they time. They have enough stress on them with friends, bodies changing, sports, and grades. Get to know and understand your students, set your rules and expectations on the first day.


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