Middle School Teachers Overview
Middle school teachers in public school must be licensed which usually includes obtaining a bachelor’s degree and completing an approved teacher education program while middle school private school teachers do not necessarily need to be licensed but need a bachelor’s degree. Alternative licensing programs are offered to draw teachers in, especially for positions that are hard to fill. Communication, trust, the ability to motivate and understand a student’s needs are all important qualifications for middle school teachers. Job opportunities are best for those teaching mathematics, science or bilingual education as well as undesirable working locations such as rural school districts.
Nature of the Work for Middle School Teachers
Middle school teachers play an important role for students during their formative years. The education they provide helps shape the future of their students and prepares them to develop into responsible adults.
Middle school teachers, teaching subjects such as science, English or math, will use classroom presentations or individual instruction to plan and assign lessons as well as maintain classroom discipline. Middle school teachers will also prepare report cards, listen to oral examinations and evaluate their students’ potential. They may also offer assistance to those having difficulty in a particular area of study. Middle school teachers will also meet with parents and members of the staff to discuss any personal problems or a student’s academic progress.
Using a hands-on approach with props as well as assigning students to work together to solve problems are two ways middle school teachers work in their classrooms. Encouraging students to work and interact together as well as adapting to new technology, will help students work through problems logically later in life.
Middle school teachers take the subjects learned in elementary school and delve deeper. Middle school teachers will specialize in a particular subject such as English or Spanish or teach career oriented subjects. Middle school teachers may also be responsible for offering career guidance or job placement help. They may also follow-up with students even after they graduate.
Middle school teachers will also supervise study halls and extracurricular activities, lead school field trips, and identify students with physical and mental problems and help them find the proper authorities.
Technology such as computers, the internet and educational software are important for both students and middle school teachers. Students can communicate with other students as well as research while middle school teachers can perform administrative and clerical duties such as recording grades.
Many middle school teachers work with students from different religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Some schools offer programs for teachers to understand cultures better while some teachers create lesson plans around multicultural programming.
Middle school teachers have recently become involved in decisions such as budgeting, textbook purchases, and curriculum design. Parents and teachers have also become involved in site-based management, where parents and teachers can make management decisions regarding the school.
Though teaching can be rewarding for middle school teachers, some can grow frustrated due to unmotivated and disrespectful students as well as the stress from heavy workloads, rundown schools, and large classrooms. Middle school teachers in private schools can enjoy smaller classroom sizes and motivated students due to selective admissions standards.
Some middle school teachers either work alone or in teams with other teachers. The usual workweek consists of 40 hours for a 10-month school periods with a 2-month summer vacation. Those working year round usually work 8 weeks, with a 1 week vacation and a 5 week midwinter vacation.
Middle school teachers can receive tenure after working for three years. Though it does provide a sense of security, it does not guarantee them a job.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Middle School Teachers
Middle school teachers at public schools are required to have a bachelor’s degree and license from a teacher education program. Those teaching at private schools do not need a license but a bachelor’s degree.
Middle school teachers take courses such social science, music and literature at traditional education programs when preparing to teach.
Middle school teachers looking to maintain their accreditation may need to take courses in computers and technology as well as performing a student-teaching internship. These programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
Professional development schools offer middle school teachers the chance to learn hands-on by merging theory with practice during a 1-year program after teachers complete their bachelor’s degree.
Though private schools do not require licensure, middle school teachers in public schools are required to have a license granted by the State Board of Education or licensure advisory committee.
The requirements for a middle school teacher are a bachelor’s degree and completion of an approved teacher training program. To obtain a license, the teacher will be tested on basic skills such as reading and writing and be required to pass the test.
Alternative licensure programs are offered to teachers who have a bachelor’s degree but are missing other requirements as a way to bring in teachers to the profession.
Communication, inspiring trust, motivating students, responding to cultural differences, organization and patience are all important qualifications for middle school teachers.
Professional certification can be obtained and may lead to better benefits such as higher pay for middle school teachers.
With proper experience, middle school teachers can become supervisors, guidance counselors, instructional coordinators, or librarians.
Top 10 Most Popular Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education and Teaching Schools
1. Wright State University, Main Campus (Dayton, Ohio)
2. Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Georgia)
3. Walden University, Minneapolis (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
4. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green (Bowling Green, Ohio)
5. Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, North Carolina)
6. Miami University, Oxford (Oxford, Ohio)
7. Arkansas State University, Jonesboro (State University, Arkansas)
8. Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, Kentucky)
9. Armstrong Atlantic State University (Savannah, Georgia)
10. University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
Most Popular Online Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education and Teaching Schools
Employment and Job Outlook for Middle School Teachers
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).
Job Opportunities & Competition
Good or favorable job opportunities. Job openings compared with job seekers may be in rough balance.
Middle school teachers hold 665,420 jobs. Student enrollment will ultimately vary by region but enrollment in the South and West are expected to increase.
Due to grade level, locality, and subject, jobs will vary for middle school teachers. More job opportunities will exist in rural areas and inner cities rather than suburban areas. Increased enrollment of minorities means a higher demand for minority teachers.
Better pay and greater public interest in education will also lead to a larger supply of teachers. Substitute teachers and those considering a career change may also become middle school teachers after completing proper certification.
Earnings and Salary for Middle School Teachers
Median annual wages for salaried middle school teachers are $50,770. The middle 50 percent earn between $41,150 and $63,980. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $34,360, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $79,200.
Annual Salary for Middle School Teachers
On average, Middle School Teachers earn $50,770 per year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook