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2 Simple Questions About Middle School



What are the positives of teaching in a middle school?
What are the negatives of teaching in a middle school?

I was just hired as a middle school Social Studies teacher in FL, and though I've subbed middle school, I haven't taught it. From my teacher friends, and even the interviewer, I heard that middle school can be especially difficult in comparison to elementary or high school. Too often I hear the negative of middle schools, so I'd like to hear some positive things about it!



What's postive:

You are done with each group of kids after 50 minutes.
You plan far less than an elementary teacher.
The kids are older, so you can do more with them.
I get to teach in my major (English) all day long.
Working with a core team that you like.
98% of the kids are awesome!

What's negative:

You may plan less, but you spend a lot more time grading.
The kids are older, so they're less lovable (sometimes).
Working with a core team you DON'T like
2% of the kids are dreadful, with parents who have no control.

Subbing in middle school is much more difficult than being their regular teacher. If you survived subbing at that level, you'll probably do fine.


New Member
Middle School can be AWESOME

Teaching middle school is really a blessing. Yes, it can be terrible too, but he positives outweight the negatives.
First, you still have a chance to make a difference in kid's lives before they reach high school. These years are PIVOTAL and you really get satisfaction here.
Also, the kids are old enough to "reason" with as opposed to young children. You get to really work with "young adults" as opposed to children.
They are also quirky, energetic, and confused. You can really enjoy this time.
Now, yes, 2% of the kids are HORRID, and can make your life miserable.
They are VERY mean to each other and to us. They have no respect.
They are fickle and will pit you against other teachers. You have to remember it is not a popularity contest and stay strong.

Leah E

Full Member
I love Middle School

This is my first year teaching. I teach 7th and 8th grade English. I was just as nervous about working with kids this age, but now I wouldn't want to ever teach younger children.
It can be extremely difficult at times as far as behavior, attitudes, parents who have given up.
There are so many positives, though. Children this age have such great personalities (for the most part). They are so funny and entertaining. If they know that you care about them, they will respect you and work hard for you. And I also have to agree about the periods. If you have a group you don't like, you're only with them for a short time.
They can also be such little kids! They love stickers and hearing that your proud of them. I'm teaching at a middle school that might as well be a continuation school. We have very difficult group of students - so I'm sure you'll love it even more than I do.

Ima Teacher

Senior Member

They can be a lot of fun.
They can be funny.
They're still learning new things.
They like to know why.
They can be independent.
They still like to give you hugs.
They're full of energy.
They're passionate.


They can drive you crazy.
They often confuse "funny" with "goofy".
They think they know everything.
They don't care unless it relates to them.
They have trouble being independent.
They don't like authority.
They're full of hormones.
They're melodramatic.

And these traits can often be found in the same child, and even on the same day.

Yesterday one of my girls told me I "sucked" and wouldn't do any work. This morning she gave me a hug and was wonderful. They always keep you guessing.


Senior Member
Pros: they can wipe their own nose and zip up their clothes
if they can't read, you don't feel so responsible.
most of them can appreciate a sense of humor

Cons: There are a few that will make your days tough at times.

Miss C

Senior Member
my 2 cents

1. They have "attitude" and think they know more than you.
2. Parents tend to be less involved with homework and such

1. Once you get them "on your side", they're intensely loyal
2. Subject matter is a little more interesting to teach (JMHO)
3. They are capable of more advanced reasoning
4. Discussion time is really profitable
5. They sincerely appreciate humor
6. They SOOOO need good role models, and, if you play your cards right, they will look up to you!

I, too, was nervous about moving to middle school (6th grade) this year from 4th grade. I didn't think I'd like it at all, but I LOVE my kids! I had the opportunity to move back to 4th for next year, but I totally turned it down because I like 6th grade so much more! As a side note, 6th grade (and I think maybe 7th too) does history of ancient civ and it's fascinating! My kids are saying that this is the first year they've actually liked history. :) Cool stuff.
Good luck! Love the kids, and in most cases, they'll return it wholeheartedly!

Miss C

Senior Member

My kids were doing group work when I wrote that last post. I got up from the computer and stretched, and one of girls squealed, jumped up, and ran over to give me this HUGE hug! Her comment: "I missed you so much, Miss C!!!!!" For the five minutes I was typing????? Gotta love 'em! :D They're still very little inside, even though they're changing on the outside. :)


8th grade

I couldn't agree more about being little and big at the same time! When I tell people that I teach 8th grade Lang. Arts, they think I have lost my mind. I am short and most of them tower over me so when they do something that is not very bright, I think to my self that they should act their age. Then I realize they are and I smile to myself. I usually tell people the main difference between K & 8th grade is their size and they can use the restroom by themselves. It is back to all about them, they usually don't like to share, emotions run high like the drama that surrounds them, girls cry for nearly no reason and the boys all but roll around on the ground. But you gotta love 'em!


Full Member
Hardest teaching job ever!

I taught 7th & 8th grade for 7 years and I loved it! It was the hardest thing I have ever done but the most rewarding! If you are good at it, it will drain you. My advice to you is to not let it consume you. When I taught middle school, I was not married yet. My life was school because I didn't know any better. Make time for yourself and you will do fine!


Junior Member
You can use a bigger vocabulary.
Their skills are so much more developed.
They still love to be hugged and give out hugs.
They retain more, and you can teach on a deeper level.
They are beginning to develop interests (which can later become passions!) in subject areas
Usually the kids hang out in groups instead of just having one best friend.
They are so much fun to be with.

Everything is life and death.
Their social life is SO much more important than your class or assignments.
They are all followers, very little leadership skills developing.
The people they do choose to follow are the "clowns".
They can be very mean to each other.
They gossip like old ladies, even the boys. (I think they spend more time gossiping than eating their lunches)
ADHD kids will REALLY drive you crazy at this stage.
You can really see the results of neglect or abuse they are experiencing in the home, in the way they behave and the choices they make.
They're priorities are totally screwed up.
You have to tell them things three or four times. ( I use the "repeat after me...." trick)
They will lose worksheets and notes home, always make LOTs of extra copies because you have to keep giving them more.
Very few communications will get to the parents. Get their email addresses and bypass the student.
Get used to hearing:
"Deadline? What's a deadline?"
"What do you mean there's no grace period for a missed deadline?"
"Can I do extra credit?"
"I'm not late" (Class started 3 minutes ago)



New Member
I Love Middle School!

It takes special people to teach at the Middle School Level. It's either you Love it or you don't. I have taught Middle School Social Studies since 2001. I truly Love it. I have been in the Elementary Schools and the High schools. Nothing tops Middle School. Middle School is the best time of a child's life. Here is when they really need guidance so that once they reach High School they are able to cope with reality. Like some have said, there will be one's that will "work" that last one, but you just go on and hadn;e your business. Start your class like you are going to end it. Don't go in being soft and then try to get hard later. It will not work. Be firm and consistent at whatever you do.

1. You can tell when you have touched there life. When they see you outside of school, they always laugh and talk with you.
2. When you get on them, they get mad but then they get over it.
3. Self sufficent and independent people
4. Not so dependent on the teacher to complete assignements. You give the work and they complete it.
5. When they break a rule, you have much more leeway in handling it than the lower grades.
6. Planning time and you don't have to stay late at work unless you want.

1. Parents are worst than the students
2. Students give you word for word
3. More paper work.

Middle School is wonderful!

Laura I

New Member
Middle school pro

I am currently teaching elementary school after 18 years in middle school. I taught math and algebra to all grades from 6th to 8th. I will probably go back some day when my own children get out of elementary school. Here are some items for you:

1.You can tell a joke and most kids in the class will get it
2.It is never boring
3.You will feel younger and more petite as the children get older and bigger
4. That age child desperately needs someone to love them - even though it is sometimes very hard
5. You definitely have more off time during the school day to get your work done than in lower grades
6. If you have a problem child - you only see them for a short time - not the whole day.

1. You will spend much more time on classroom management - remember you are the boss and never doubt they will do what you say
2. You will see many more children in a day - one year I had 160 - it makes personal connections much more difficult
3. Sixth graders are more like fifth graders and 8th graders are more like high school freshman but 7th graders are the most difficult - you will either love or hate 7th graders
4. You have to hear high school teachers tell you what you are doing wrong, even though most of them would never teach a child that age and have no clue as to what happens to kids at that age.

Keep your chin up - I never thought I would teach middle school either and I probably loved it 90% of the time. You may too.


middle school

I don't think you can list all the pros or cons of teaching middle school.
I teach 7th grade computers and each year it's a whole new thing. Some years are absolutely great and others can be more challenging. The main thing is structure so that the students know what to expect. But, sometimes you need to do the unexpected just to keep students on their toes. If the students are busy they do not have time to get into trouble and they are much happier. I do not give busy work, but try to find assignments that are relative to real life. This is a wonderful age to be teaching.


Senior Member

Positives: Only have one subject to plan for, more independent than elementary, bigger classrooms (normally), longer planning time, duty free lunch

Negatives: Social life is more important than academics, takes longer to grade (depending upon type of tests you give), little parental involvement (which sometimes is a positive depending upon the type of involvement!). :)

All in all, middle school is a wonderful time. I get very upset with teachers who forget that they're still kids (just with raging hormones!). If you treat them with respect, they'll (normally) do the same for you. I never had to raise my voice, and I didn't have major discipline problems. I expected them to work, and was very matter-of-fact about it. They appreciate structure, although may not admit it.

I'll tell you something my friend's son told me when he was 13. He said his favorite teacher was Mrs. _____ because she made him behave in class. He was a class clown, but the teacher he loved the most was the one that cared enough to make him do his work and pay attention. I was in college when he told me that, and I made a mental note to remember it. Respect goes a long way.

Enjoy those middle schoolers! :)


Junior Member
My formula,

I've taught 5th, 6th, and 8th grade middle school. I've also taught kindergarten, 4th, and 5th.

I have a formula for teanagers now. (Including my own) Subtract or add 10 years from their current calendar age and you'll find their emotional age a third of the time.

That's what keeps it exciting.