In my previous blog, I began discussing the trials of middle school age children. I offered advice to parents who are dealing with a child entering middle school. In this article, I would like to address the persons who will be teaching middle school age children.
Teaching middle school age students is an art. Most teachers either love it or hate and few are in between.
Advice for Teachers:
The most important part of being a middle school teacher is wanting to be one and being qualified for what you teach. Too often teachers are thrown into middle school without the proper background or desire. Hopefully the new laws of being highly qualified will eliminate some of this.
Middle school students are often hard on themselves and on other students without the help of teachers. Middle school teachers should plan lessons that engage all students in successful learning without singling any students out. Avoid discussing other students in class or to a group if there is a chance that the student may be embarrassed or made fun of by peers.
If you feel that a student may need to talk or need a “lift me up”, do so in private or in the presence of another adult such as a counselor. At this age, it is not cool to be friends or hangout with the teacher. Most students do not want the other children to know that they sought help or advice from the teacher.
Offer opportunities for parents to get involved. Do not expect the students to go home and let their parents in on what is happening at school, because most will not. Make sure that parents are aware of their child’s progress in school and that they feel comfortable attending parent teacher conferences.
Relate your lessons as much to real life situations as possible. Students, especially at this age, need meaning in their learning. They want to see how the information can be used in real life. Try to bring in as many community workers as possible to related to your learning.