Middle School Teacher Job Description
Middle school teachers normally educate students from six through eighth grade, but the exact grade levels vary by school district. In the United States, middle school can go all the way up to ninth grade, and all the way down to fourth grade.
Most middle school teachers specialize in teaching a single subject, like English, social studies, art, or science. Normally, the subject they teach corresponds with their choice of major in college. In some middle schools (especially those with lower populations), a teacher may teach a class of students for the entire day and cover all subjects.
Middle school teachers usually have at least one free period during the day, where they can work on lesson plans, grade papers, or just take a nice mental break. In some cases, they may use this time to meet with parents or other teachers to discuss their students’ progress, and offer help and advice.
Given the rising Hispanic population in the United States, learning to speak Spanish as a second language is very important in some regions. Being bilingual can open up many opportunities that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise.
For people who love to instill a love of learning in children, this can be a very rewarding occupation.
Work Environment and Schedule
Even though teaching can be a very rewarding occupation, it can also be stressful at times. Many schools lack the funding they need to provide the tools that teachers need to do their jobs well. For example, many districts use very outdated textbooks, and students may not have access to computers. Since teachers are often measured based on how their students perform on standardized tests, it can be very frustrating when their students are not given the tools they need to succeed.
Teachers also have to deal with students who are disrespectful, unmotivated, or disruptive. Setting boundaries and establishing clear guidelines for punishment is important, but many school systems make it difficult for teachers to discipline their students.
For the most part, middle school teachers are able to work normal business hours between Monday and Friday. However, they often have to spend time during their evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing lesson plans.
Some middle school teachers also coach sports teams or lead student organizations. These responsibilities require teachers to spend additional time working before or after school.
One of the biggest perks for teachers is getting extended time off each year. Most schools conduct classes for ten months, and then take a break for two. There aren’t many professions that allow the opportunity to take a break for two months!
How to Become a Middle School Teacher
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required to become a middle school teacher. If you want to work in a public school, you will also need to be licensed by your state. There are no state mandated licensing requirements for teachers who work in private schools, but individual schools may have their own requirements.
The licensing requirements vary from state to state, but they all require completing a teacher preparation program and teaching under the supervision of an experienced teacher. The teaching requirement is often met by working as a student teacher in college.
Most states also require middle school teachers to take a test demonstrating knowledge in the area they wish to teach. Passing a teaching certification test is also required.
To learn about the exact requirements in your state, you should contact the Department of Education.
There are currently 641,700 middle school teachers in the United States, with 24,930 new middle school teacher job openings created each year.
Middle School Teacher jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Middle School Teacher Salaries
Middle School Teacher salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most middle school teachers make between $42,900 – $66,500 per year, or Not Available per hour.