Requirements for becoming a middle school teacher may vary from state to state, but these instructors must be prepared to enroll in a higher education program to begin this career. While in a degree program, students will learn necessary skills such as lesson planning, dealing with difficult children, and communicating with parents. These teachers will typically work with students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Their job is to combine elementary school and high school teaching practices to prepare their student for the next step in their educational career.
Those who wish to develop a career as a middle school teacher must first earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Some individuals will choose to major in a certain area of content, while others will major in elementary education. Earning a degree is an absolute requirement. Public school teachers must also earn a state-licensed teacher’s certification or license. Certification varies from state to state. Some teachers will be able to work with students grades 6 through 8, while others may be allowed to teach students in grades 7 through 12. Many states prefer their teachers to be accredited through a program supported by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
Most teaching programs will also include student teaching, where enrolled individuals spend a certain period of time at a school, gaining experience under the supervision of a certified teacher. While going through the certification process, future teachers should also volunteer to substitute at nearby schools. This will allow them to gain additional experience in various grades and with different age groups. Subbing in different schools will also allow individuals to discover different work environments and find what best suits their teaching style.
While teachers may participate in different areas of study, such as math or science, their roles are typically the same. They are expected to teach their students, and assess their learning rate through quizzes, tests, and other evaluation methods. Lessons will be taught through a combination of individual and group activities, so students will develop social skills and overcome weaknesses. Teachers are also expected to enforce classroom rules and prepare students for standardized state tests.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), middle school teacher employment is projected to grow by 17% between 2010 and 2020. The increase is due to the number of teachers heading into retirement, coupled with the expected rise in enrollment rate. The South and the West are expecting the most rapid enrollment rate, while the Northeast is projected to decline in enrollment. The Midwest’s enrollment rate is predicted to hold steady.