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yayteacher yayteacher is offline
 
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Should I move to middle school???
Old 01-14-2013, 07:24 PM
  #1

Ok...5th grade teacher here. I've taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. I am currently a 4th to 5th looping teacher. This is my 6th year. Where I teach 5th grade is self contained elementary, where 6th is middle school. I'd like to teach math or social studies if I moved.

I am burnt out with all the planning. I have to plan 4 reading lessons a day, math, math small groups, social studies, and writing. My team prefers to plan on our own, so i have to do it all. I have a 5month old at home and I've been thinking about moving up to teach 6th grade for awhile. Here is my reasoning:

1. Less planning (maybe?? This is what I need to know...)

2. I can plan in depth for my subject-I feel like I do 10 things but none of them very well because there is so much. I wish I could plan and become an expert in 1 subject.

3. Now, if I have a difficult student, I have to deal with them for 2 years all day because I loop. If I moved up, it would just be for an hour a day for 1 year.

4. With a new baby I need to dedicate more time to my own family. I hate to say this but I want teaching to be a job, not my life like it was before baby. I feel constantly stressed because I want to do my best every day but I feel like I can't get to everything. I get to school at 6 am and still don't have enough time to do it well.

5. I tend to enjoy the 5th grade part more than the 4th grade. I enjoy the older kids more than 4th graders.

Are there any middle school teachers out there who can give me your perspective? Any former elementary teachers moved to middle school? What are the pros and cons of your job? I need to put in my transfer soon if this is something I want to do.


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Yes!
Old 01-14-2013, 07:40 PM
  #2

I moved from elementary to MS and love it. I can't imagine going back now!

Most of the reasons you've listed are accurate. I will say, it's harder to feel like you're really making connections/understanding kids when you're with them such a small part of the day. It's also sometimes frustrating to be completely stuck by the time constraints of the bells.

Classroom management can be challenging if you don't understand this age group.

While planning time can be less, there is often more grading.

Realize, your first year of transition will be similar to your first year of teaching, because you're starting from scratch. After that, it is less time planning, IMO.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:43 PM
  #3

1. Less planning (maybe?? This is what I need to know...)
Not necessarily. I have almost 20 years in middle school teaching and have never had less than 3 preps. I currently have 4 that span 2 cross levels: grade 7 reading, grade 7 English, grade 8 reading intervention, anda slightly different grade 8 reading intervention.

2. I can plan in depth for my subject-I feel like I do 10 things but none of them very well because there is so much. I wish I could plan and become an expert in 1 subject.
Please see above.

3. Now, if I have a difficult student, I have to deal with them for 2 years all day because I loop. If I moved up, it would just be for an hour a day for 1 year.
Not if you end up teaching more than 1 grade level, coach anything, or the child is retained.

4. With a new baby I need to dedicate more time to my own family. I hate to say this but I want teaching to be a job, not my life like it was before baby. I feel constantly stressed because I want to do my best every day but I feel like I can't get to everything. I get to school at 6 am and still don't have enough time to do it well.
You will still have quite a workload. You have more IEP children to accomodate, more parents to keep in touch with, and just as many (if not more) non-academic responsibilities.


5. I tend to enjoy the 5th grade part more than the 4th grade. I enjoy the older kids more than 4th graders.
You HAVE to love this age group to be happy and successful, or you need to go. Middle schoolers are a unique breed, just like preschoolers or kindergarteners.
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Love middle school
Old 01-14-2013, 09:44 PM
  #4

I feel it is a calling. I moved down from high school to middle. I teach 6th grade and it is by far my favorite. I agree with previous poster--you have to love the age group, or they are so annoying you'll be pulling your hair out!

You might have less preps, it depends. I have two, but my first year I had four. You have IEPs and 504s. You have students with learning disabilities who have not been tested and diagnosed, for whatever reason, and it will be your job to accommodate, do interventions, document, and take the steps needed to get them tested and appropriately placed. This often will not be until the following year, so you will be needing to work with this misplaced student all year. Students need to work towards independence and it can be hard to give them (and their parents) the right mix of nurture and responsibility. Middle school is different than elementary--you just need to know that.

I do laugh everyday with my students--they are a hoot. I enjoy my job and find it doable. I no longer work evenings or weekends.

It might work for you--I work with many teachers who moved up from elementary, and who have young children at home.

Good luck with your decision making process!
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:48 AM
  #5

I always had multiple preps. I am a hard core differentiator. I because I have two highly qualified areas I taught reading, reading tutorial, and then baby bio and baby chem/physics. I had no prep period at all and got a stipend that equaled ten dollars a pay check.The year I just taught science, I taught seven very different classes. I had two advanced classes, then a kinesthetic learner intensive class and a class that was made up entirely of inattentive knats. Each class was in a different place needing different things on different days. And the books were useless. I did a.lot of singing and even song making up in one class, in another singing would have been totally pointless. I think scheduling around gifted and interventions kind of made it to where the kids were unintentionally tracked,though.

I taught self contained 6th for two years...one was the best year of my life, one the worst. For me the planning was no different though because kids are not robots with the same needs. The reading series had differentiation built in which was nice. I worked at least ten hours a say both ways and weekends. But like I said , Iam a hard core differentiator and that takes time and planning. I also spent a lot lot lot of money. Science is my real passion and there was no money for labs. I couldn't teach my kinesthetic learners class without plenty of activities that required materials either. The knat class needed to be taught using stations more times a week than I typically used stations to learn best. They were the toughest to prepare for. But the money went to reading and math.



The paperwork for sped and 504s is worse departmentalized in my experience because you might have 25 kids with those needs instead of six or seven. The helicopter parents in sixth grade are awful. I spend an h our after school every day answering their emails and and making phone calls. I had whole classes by parent request. When the counselor told me that I was elated . Uh.....no. it was a bad year in terms of parents. I have never had more emails, drama and phone calls in my life. They were appeased and I many parent letters to take with me when I go back on the market but sheesh! The kids were fantastic though.

You will have at least one tough student in every class and it won't bother you any less than self contained I'm afraid. BUT in eighth grade they start to get expelled or suspended for longer periods or put in jail. Sad but it does help .

I ended up taking a leave for my babies. To me, teaching just is a ten hours a day plus weekends job. It just is. Everyone at my old middle school worked the hours did. Some had horrible problems in their classes...and those were the teachers who tried to teach each class the same way regardless of class make up or learning style. They also taught the same way(lecture style) and the kids were horrible as a result. it takes a lot of thought.



Last edited by janeypoo; 01-15-2013 at 04:10 AM..
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Short and sweet answer....
Old 01-15-2013, 11:30 AM
  #6

It all depends. I had one prep, team plan and individual plan. It was AWESOME!

5 sections daily, almost 30 students each section. 180 things to grade is daunting and really sucked at grading time. Conferences were a pain in the butt. Resource teachers loved me, but very much disliked one of my co-workers because students needed differentiation which I love and others...not so much.

If you want to make the move, talk to others who would be in your same right now at the school you are looking at. They would be the best way to really understand what that school takes.

FWIW, I never was at school only on "contract hours". I arrived early and stayed late, but I'm horrible with my time. Our school also had a "copy lady" so I had to be really organized and get my stuff to her really early to get in time for my lesson. 180 5-6 page copies were not to be done on the "quick copy" in the teachers work room, for example.

I found MANY more pros than cons between 5th and 6th grade. There was more drama, but I was able to relate to 11-13 year olds better than older elementary.

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Depends
Old 01-15-2013, 04:20 PM
  #7

I teach 6th grade in a 6th-8th middle school. While I love the age group, unfortunately our 6th grade is still mostly self-contained. I teach math, reading, writing and social studies. Hopefully, we will be departmentalizing in the next year or two. Planning for multiple subjects is becoming overwhelming with all the new mandates.
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I prefer older kids.
Old 01-15-2013, 08:21 PM
  #8

I've never taught elementary and never wanted to. I always knew that I wanted to work with older kids and not have to mommy the little ones.

Less planning??? Mmmm, really depends on what you consider to be less. You may still teach more than 1 subject or more than 1 grade level. There could be regular classes or honors classes. You will most likely be responsible for over 100 students and depends on the type of schedule you will have. When I had an odd/even schedule, I had 163 students in the 10 classes I taught each week. Now I see students daily and teach 6 classes a day. You still have to differentiate and depending on the class, they may not all be in the same place at the same time.

It's very possible you will not teach one subject and depending on your certification, you could be switched every year. There was a year where I taught special ed: science, social studies and co-taught language arts. Another year I taught reading, math and co-taught social studies. I know a teacher who taught Science and Language Arts for 2 years and now teaches Social Studies (was switched from Science after the first quarter). One of the things you learn is don't count on anything.

Difficult students don't disappear, you'll just see more of them throughout the day.

Family time - One of the things I realized is that with the number of students that I have, I don't choose to grade every single thing. I also realize that I may not finish everything that I want to. I've had to do that to make sure that I do have family time. You will have to find ways to not let it take over your life.

Remember that middle schoolers are more vocal, they are not as loving as elementary kids. They don't think anything about calling you names, talking about you, talking about your class, etc. You need to have a thick skin. On the other hand, teaching this age is very rewarding. You can have better and more in depth conversations. You can joke and be sarcastic. Middle school can be very interesting.
Good luck in making your decision.
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