I know the first thoughts many people have are the ability to work well with preteens and a degree in education. However, those are just the basics.
I’ve discovered to be successful as a middle school teacher, you need a certain skill set. While I learned some of this in school, most of it I learned through experience.
After all, working with middle school students for years teaches you a few things.
Honestly, I think this is a key skill for every single teacher, no matter what age group they teach. Students aren’t always happy to be in class or eager to learn. This means I have to be persistent and keep working with my students, no matter how stubborn they might be. Of course, sometimes persistence also means taking the time to figure out why a student’s having problems.
Patience and persistence go hand-in-hand. Naturally, working with a group of preteens that are just starting to deal with all kinds of new hormones is going to take patience. This is the age where kids start to act out more and push boundaries. It’s easy to just lose your temper, but I’ve developed more patience than I ever thought possible. Trust me, it’s well worth it.
3. Engaging Teaching Style
One of the main purposes of my site is to promote a more engaging and active teaching style. Students learn better when they’re engaged versus just sitting and listening. I’ve found the more I let students interact during a lesson, the more they remember later.
I know it sounds cliché, but every day is different as a middle school teacher (yes, for any teacher:-). As I mentioned, students are going through numerous changes during this time. I think one of the most important skills for teachers to have is adaptability. Being ready for any situation is crucial. It also means you don’t let your students take you by surprise (if possible, haha).
5. Social Awareness And Empathy
As middle school students deal with new emotions and social situations, middle school teachers need to be socially aware and empathetic. In fact, empathy actually helps to engage students. I’ve found it makes it easier to relate to students and figure out what they need. With the increasing amount of bullying, teachers also have to be socially aware of what’s going on in students’ lives and look for any signs of problems.
Formal education is important, but cultivating the above skills takes you from a teacher to an incredible educator and role model.
Here's to the skills of middle school teachers (and all teachers, of course)!!