Teaching in the Middle
Published: March 28, 2023
Author: Sherry Lee
Middle School students are a curious combination of enthusiasm and moodiness. Teachers that work with these middle schoolers complete the usual teaching tasks:
- creating lesson plans
- grading assignments
- communicating with parents or guardians about their child’s progress
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Any middle school teacher can tell you that they do so much more when dealing with pre-teen and teenage students! Day-to-day academic challenges can seem difficult in a normal setting, but in a middle-school world where hormones and attitudes sometimes trump schoolwork, it takes a special teacher to manage Snapchats, parties, boyfriends/girlfriends, drama, Axe body spray, and schoolwork. Middle school students are inquisitive, caring, and sometimes overwhelmed at the prospect of juggling school and a blossoming social life. They need a teacher who can be both a mentor and a friend. Teaching in grades 5-8, therefore, takes a special breed of teacher and these rarities are in high demand.
THE DEMAND FOR THE MIDDLE GRADES TEACHER
There are currently more than 600 job openings for middle school teachers of subjects including English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and History/Social Studies for students in grades 5 through 8, according to the Illinois Education Job Bank. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment growth of 4% nationally from 2021-2031 for middle grades teachers.
To help combat the teacher shortages in the middle grades, Greenville University now offers coursework that leads to a full Middle Grades English/Language Arts endorsement. Additionally, we offer methods courses that can lead to endorsements in Social Science, Math, and Science. The courses are fully online, and the endorsements require 18 credit hours and a passing score on the content area test; they are offered during the spring and summer semesters and are taught by Greenville University faculty. In addition to the methods courses, a supplementary course, Middle Grades Philosophy, Curriculum, and Literacy, is suggested but not required. This course deals with social and philosophical assumptions targeted at the middle-grades student.
THE AWARDING MIDDLE
While all teachers are adaptable, flexible, and compassionate, middle grades teachers must also balance structure and discipline with students who are looking for acceptance and approval while the world is changing all around them