Middle School Teacher

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The Middle School Brain: Yes, There Is One!

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Being a middle school teacher holds special challenges in terms of management. Teaching middle school is not for sissies! I sometimes hear teachers brag “I never have any discipline issues in my room.” When I hear that, I know for sure that I’m not talking to a middle school teacher. It’s not that it’s impossible to get middle school kids to behave. It just takes much more energy and stamina than it does in most high school classes. One reason is that their brains are not developed enough to help them control their own dumb behaviors.

Patience is the #1 virtue when working with this age group. Their brains are crammed with too many synapses and connections that they don’t know how to adequately process. The immaturity of their thinking can quickly become tiresome. Drawing a penis and testicles is seen as hysterical and there’s no way to win when discussing Uranus- no matter how you pronounce it.

Boys show their interest in girls by throwing pencils at them or pushing them. Girls gossip about another girl nearby by whispering in each other’s ears while looking directly at the poor victim. Spitwads appear on your white board. Kids all drop their books at the same time. It’s exhausting just to watch, but since it’s going on while you’re trying to teach you have to constantly redirect their focus. But how? Here are some helpful suggestions:

Dishonesty: It’s common at this age to hear, “I didn’t do that. You always pick on me.” Or, “I didn’t copy off Susie. She copied off me.” The benefit of this age group is that in most cases, they’re poor liars, and it doesn’t take too much to get them to tell the truth in most situations just by talking with them.

Class Disruptions: These kids sometimes love to create disruption in the classroom. Their brains are very intrigued by, “I wonder what would happen if I….” It’s not usually malicious, just stupid. You can’t control what they throw at you but you always control how you respond to what they do. If you don’t respond in an entertaining way, they’ll lose interest. So what type of reaction should you show?

  • Your reaction needs to be as small as possible. The less the activity disrupts your instruction the less fun it is.
  • Stay calm and speak in a calm voice.
  • Take action quickly and decisively. NOTE: Your action might even be stating that you don’t want to take action right now but you will meet with the person directly after class.
  • Continue the lesson as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Pranks and practical jokes: Of course,April Fools is never a fun day for middle school teachers, but this kind of behavior is very typical for this age group throughout the year. Accept it. Many times you can ignore it. Dangerous or mean pranks, however, must be dealt with immediately. For example: Johnny pulls Jim’s chair out from under him. These behaviors can be seriously dangerous and you can bet that if Jim cracks his head, the parents won’t be suing Johnny. They’ll come looking for you. Explain the first day and frequently thereafter what constitutes respectful behavior. Be specific. Create several classroom situations and have the class determine if the behavior in the situation is acceptable or unacceptable and talk about why. You will have to continue to emphasize this the entire year. It’s tedious but necessary.

Noises: Oh, my! They drag their shoes to make them squeak. They open and close their desk lid or a door over and over. And somewhere around the age of 10, kids discover they can make incredible sounds using various parts of their bodies. This never seems to get old for them, and is consistently rewarded with giggles. from their peers. You need to be firm about noises, because they will absolutely drive you crazy with this if you don’t. However, downplay it as much as possible (see the suggestions above.)

It’s very difficult to determine which kid just belched so it has to be a class behavior discussion. This line usually worked for me. “I appreciate that you’ve learned a new skill but please refrain from practicing it during class.” If it continues, you may have to resort to “This half of the room will have to stay after class until we identify the musician.” Usually the offender will stop at this point. If this still continues to be a problem, move kids around on the seating chart. This may help isolate the little whipper. If you stay calm and don’t let this be a trigger button for you, if will settle down to just an occasional hassle.

One crucial concept to keep in mind is never demean or tell them how juvenile or stupid their behavior is. Even if they are acting like 3-year-olds, don’t say it out loud. They are very touchy and this will almost certainly make matters worse.

This is just the beginning of my discussion of the Middle School Brain. Check out my next article “The Middle School Brain: Why Are Boogers So Funny?”

Become a Middle School Teacher

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Middle school teachers are responsible for the educational development of students who have completed elementary school but are not yet in high school. Typically, middle schools cover students in grades five or six through eight. Middle school teachers delve more deeply into subjects that were introduced in elementary school and expose their students to more information about them. Unlike elementary school teachers, middle school teachers usually specialize in a specific subject, such as English, mathematics, history, or physics. Day-to-day duties are wide-ranging and include such tasks as preparation of course objectives, assignment of lessons, correction of tests, establishment of class rules of conduct, and liaisons with parents to address academic and behavioral issues.

Education, Certification, Licensing

Middle school teachers are subject to specific educational requirements set by the state in which they teach. Every state requires at minimum a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university along with an approved teacher training program which includes a prescribed number of subject and education credits as well as supervised practice teaching. Many states require teachers to earn a master’s degree in education either before they begin teaching or within a specified period afterwards. Most aspiring middle school teachers will obtain their bachelor’s in the subject area they plan to teach and then earn either their teaching credits or a master’s degree in education.

All states require middle school public teachers to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but always include an educational requirement along with the ability to pass certain tests which demonstrate competency in teaching and proficiency in the subject being taught. Most states require periodic renewal of licenses contingent upon completion of a minimum number of hours of continuing education as a pre-condition for renewal. Some school systems are adopting performance-based criteria for license renewal, which typically requires teachers to demonstrate satisfactory teaching performance over an extended period in order to qualify.

Midlink Magazine – A Must Have Subscription for the Middle School Teacher

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

The apparent purpose of the Midlink Magazine sight is to be an outlet for students, ages eight to eighteen, to submit and review art and writing. It is an award-winning magazine that is nonprofit It is sponsored by North Carolina State University and the University of Central Florida. Its bullets include newest articles, table of contents, web honor roll, search strategies, cool schools, teacher tools, archives, our mission, and who we are The editors of Midlink are very successful teachers, grades K-12, who have produced this website as they say, “by students, for students-ages 8-18.”

The content of the site appeals to all teachers of grades K- 12 because of excellent accuracy and utility. When one clicks on teacher tools, for example, findings include clickable topics such as: Helping students cope with terrorism, grant money and funding hotline, and resources for educational leaders and policy makers, and collaborative learning. The site is very user friendly and includes a variety of graphics that are cute and clickable. Another example would be under teacher tools, whereby you can search a variety of topics including: rubrics, graphic organizers, teaching resources, copyright guidelines for web publishing, and much more Many of these resources can be used to manage web activities, publish web projects, and evaluate your classroom activities. As a teacher, I am also allowed to suggest a site for the editors to review If they believe my site is focused enough, they may choose to include it in their links directory I found the accuracy and utility of the site to be in-depth and user friendly. I would recommend it to my friends and colleagues.

The ease of navigation and the overall appeal of the site are good I would rate it a seven out often on a scale of one to ten. My only suggestion is that sometimes the clickable teacher planning resources are way at the bottom of the page, and one has to go through a few uninteresting or corny graphics to find them I know I tend to want to click on artwork and pictures, and sometimes on this site, I feel that the graphics are in the way instead of helping. Navigation is very effortless, as the left hand side of the website is a different color and bullets are focused with great headings to identify them This site, however, does not have a search box, and that would have been helpful, because grade level information could have been more easily obtained The overall appeal of the site receives a five out often, because the graphics are out of date (cartoon characters sitting at computers, etc.) and it lacks a modern professional appeal

There are a variety of ways that I would utilize the site and promote it to my friends and colleagues One, I would recommend it as a source for grants and projects, because under the section entitled teacher grants there are hundreds of links to grants for everything one can imagine Two, there is a link to this website which includes a teacher planning section with lesson plans, teaching ideas, online student activities, and web links available in these specific categories:

* Language

* Rhetoric

* Literary Genres

* American Literature

* World Literature

I was very impressed with this list, because I can utilize the resources on a daily basis in the classroom by downloading the articles, studying them, and then implementing them in my classroom

Overall, this website would be geared, I believe, toward the middle school student and to all teachers who desire to learn more about teaching to the middle and high school student. There are tons of articles on the teaching of English, Math, Social Studies, Science and Art. There are quite a few elementary level articles, but far more middle and high school. Students at the middle school age would love this site, and I would recommend it to my nephew Gabriel because he loves to draw and write, and I’m sure he would be most grateful to be recognized on the website as a published student “web” author. I’m also certain your son or daughter may be grateful for this awesome recognition as well!