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What is a superhero? Is it someone who was randomly bitten, exposed to radiation or perhaps an alien with perfect genes? Is it someone who wears tights and flies around fighting crime? In reality it is so much more. A superhero is someone who recognizes their abilities to make others the best they can be – and then acts upon that.
When you think of a child's most formidable years, you probably find yourself thinking about the ages of puberty, between 10 and 15. For most children, this is the time when they are figuring out who they are and what they want to pursue for a future. This is also the time when friendships are forged that can impact a child's character for life, when emotional growth is almost as significant as physical growth.
For this reason, pursing a degree in middle school education opens the door to having a strong impact on those kids in this socially and academically critical period. In fact, good middle school teachers are often considered "super heroes" due to the tremendous impact they can have on these vulnerable kids. If you're considering a degree in education, here's a closer look at what middle school is, and why it's worth considering.What Is Middle School?
You might be surprised to find out that middle school is a somewhat new concept in the world of education. While each district will define its "middle school" differently, it tends to be the span of grades that bridge the gap between the elementary school and the high school. This typically falls somewhere between grades 5 or 6 through grades 8 or 9.
Why has modern education started pulling these children apart and into their own schools? According to the Association for Middle Level Education, having students in these middle grades, separated from the high school, helps ease their transition into high school later on. Yes, they still have to be the "small man on campus" when they enter as a freshman or sophomore, but they have usually been through the difficult years of junior high without the additional pressures found on a high school campus, and therefore are better equipped for success.
Sixth, seventh, and eight grade students are normally outgrowing the “cutesy stuff” of elementary school, but they are not quite ready for the loud hallways and demands of high school. They tend to do best when they can transition between the two for a few years, getting solid academic training. This has led to a growth in the demand for middle schools around the country.What Middle School Teachers Need
In order to succeed as a middle school teacher, you need to be able to keep up with the energy, higher ability to challenge, and changing emotions of this age group. These kids are no longer motivated by a burning desire to please the teacher. Instead, they want to impress their friends. Teachers who succeed in middle school have to be able to motivate their students, finding ways to make their subject matter engaging and bringing enthusiasm to the classroom to keep the kids learning. When they do, the impact is monumental.
Great middle school teachers are willing to discuss feelings, a children at this age are starting to enter the physical and emotional changes of puberty. This transition can overwhelm even the best of kids, but passionate middle school teachers understand and embrace this and teach their students how to navigate changing feelings and emotions while also teaching multiplication and division.
Interestingly, middle school positions are often overlooked by teachers, as some find these years difficult to manage if not equipped with the right skill set. Yet, there can also be a great number of rewards for teaching at the middle school level. You have the opportunity to shape children as they grow into their teen years while preparing them for the demands of high school. In fact, those who do successfully teach at this level are often viewed as superheroes, since they are helping to shape the next generation.
Do you have what it takes to be a superhero? Are you ready to make a difference? If so, middle school is where your teaching efforts can make a tremendous, lasting difference, impacting children in some of the most vulnerable and pliable years of their lives.
University of the Cumberlands is dedicated educating teachers and administrators. If you find passion in educating the next generation too, find out how we can help you achieve your dream. Learn more about our education undergraduate and graduate programs today.