Job Title: Middle School Teacher
Type of Company: I work for an independent K-12 school with about 450 students in North Carolina's Research Triangle.
Education: BA, Geology, with minor concentrations in biology and education
Previous Experience: I've worked as a reporter for fifteen years and I was a full-time stay-at-home dad for about a dozen years.
Job Tasks: I teach a year-long integrated science class for seventh grade students and a trimester-long history class. I am also an advisor to nine students of middle school age, helping with their academic, social and emotional growth. In addition, I am one of three advisors to our eighth grade class, helping them navigate the responsibilities and expectations that have been thrust on them as the oldest students in our middle school. I also help with technology support and development.
In an independent school we are allowed the freedom to develop our curriculum in a way that reflects our individual strengths as well as our students' individual needs. I see myself as a "lifelong learner" (although that term is woefully overused these days!) in that I have the opportunity to create a new curriculum to fit the needs and interests of my students as I identify them. We do not need to "teach to the test" and indeed do not administer any standardized tests (although our high school does administer the ACT and SAT).
I teach three science classes and one history class each morning. I see each of our seventh graders in this daily 45 minute science class, and also see one third of them in the history class. My science class covers life, earth, space and atmospheric sciences, focusing on student observation of the natural world. The history class focuses mainly on US geography and civics.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love the freedom to create a curriculum that conforms to my own and my students' interests. I enjoy interacting with middle school students, who are usually a wonderful combination of child and young adult. Among the challenges of the job are dealing with the mood swings of adolescents, and with their brief attention spans. One needs great patience!
Job Tips: The most important qualities of a good teacher are patience, humility, a sense of humor, empathy, compassion, curiosity and a desire to learn. Notice I have not mentioned specific knowledge in a content area. Obviously knowing what you're teaching is necessary and even crucial, but knowledge alone will not make a good teacher. If you like kids you have potential; the only way to know you're a good, or maybe a great, teacher is to do it. Much of what you need to know, you will learn on the job.
Notice too that I have not mentioned needing a degree in education. As a lateral entrant into the profession, I am probably biased; nonetheless, while students who have a major in education doubtless learn much that will be useful, most of what you learn will come when you are in your own classroom. That said, I strongly encourage prospective teachers to take as wide a variety of college classes as possible. (As a former journalist, I would offer the same advice to prospective reporters!)
Additional Thoughts: Beware! In my lifetime, I have had a number of full-time jobs besides my current one: construction laborer, machinist, actor (stage and TV commercials), a radio and television reporter and a stay-at-home father. None was as demanding, challenging or difficult as being a teacher. It is no surprise that many people who begin a career as a teacher move on to something else. This is not a sign of incompetence or cowardice. It's a really hard job. It's also a potentially very rewarding job - to know you have made a difference in someone's life.
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
Advance your teaching career with an online master's degree from University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.
Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.
Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.
About The University of Texas at Arlington
Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.
Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
LSU Shreveport is a proud member of the acclaimed LSU University System.
The University of West Florida (UWF) has a central mission.
Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Middle School Teachers, including: