Why I want to teach middle school & introduction to my placement

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Since starting the foundations program I have seriously considered becoming a middle school language arts teacher for many reasons. First, I have always had a passion for reading, and I want to ignite this passion in young adults. I want students to leave my classroom at the end of the year and think of reading as pleasurable and interesting, not as a task they have to complete for school. Similarly, I want students to see the value in writing. I had one great English teacher in high school that I credit with getting me through college with a good GPA because she taught me how to write well. I want to be this teacher to my students, and I think I am capable of doing it.

Besides loving the content, I also enjoy this age group. I find them hilarious, easy to relate to, and very intelligent. Sometimes I question whether I have the patience to be an elementary general education teacher, and I think the answer to that is to teach middle school. Not only are the students older, but they also switch classes so instead of having a class of thirty students for the entire year, I will have 5 different classes of 30 students throughout the day. This is the variety that I think I need to stay interested and passionate about my job.

After saying all this, I should probably make it clear that I haven't had that much experience in a middle school. One of my practicums was in a 7th and 8th grade classroom, but it was in a school that housed K-8, which is a different atmosphere than a separate middle school. Although I didn't think too highly of the teacher at that practicum, the students were a lot of fun. I loved hearing about their drama-filled lives and offering my "wise" advice. And their sense of humor was always entertaining. But I wasn't really in a position of authority there, and I never had to plan and execute any lessons. I wonder if my love for this age group would be different if I was put in that position.

So...I am excited to begin this middle school practicum and learn as much as I can about middle school and middle schoolers. As crazy as it sounds, this experience has the potential to make me more passionate about teaching middle school, or to change my mind and turn me off of it completely. Because I've had so little experience in a middle school classroom, this experience becomes infinitely more important.

A little about the class that I will be observing, due to scheduling conflicts we were unable to come in this week to observe, but we did meet our teacher and see the school. The school building houses 6th-8th grade and it is in a suburban city. On a tour of the school, I could feel the difference between the middle school atmosphere and the elementary school atmosphere. I felt a little out of place there since I've grown to be very comfortable in elementary school settings.

One thing that I wish I could say was unimportant, but in reality it is, is the fact that our teacher has MS. She uses crutches to get around her classroom, and a scooter to get around the school. She explained that her students are extremely helpful, and while we were there two boys that had stayed after school to help her arrange her desks and clean up the room. I am really looking forward to seeing this generosity and kindness more while we are in the classroom.

2 Comments

I loved getting an inside glimpse into your thoughts about teaching middle school. Let me start by saying I am always jealous of people who had "that one teacher" who really inspired them and left their mark, I don't think I ever had that. I bet she would love to hear just how much she has impacted your life, are you in touch? I also share your thoughts on wanting students to leave my class feeling like reading is a social and pleasurable experience and I think that definitely starts with a teacher who is truly passionate about reading so you are off to a good start!Now, about this role changing you talked about. I too am nervous about being in the teacher role in the middle school setting. It is easy to be their friend and talk to them about their life, but it is a whole other ball game to get them to listen when you want to teach a lesson that they would rather not hear. That is something I am constantly watching at my own practicum sight, that balance between teacher and friend/mentor. I am noticing that even when the students aren't in the mood to listen, they still respect their teacher and I think this is because of the way she treats them. I can tell that she cares about her students and their lives, and I think the students can feel that. It all goes back to that connectedness that one of our articles talks about. Especially with this age group, I think it is important for students to feel like their teacher cares about them personally and part of that caring means making sure they get their academic needs met as well. She does little things throughout her lesson, like a share a personal story to help the students make connections, or let them share a story. They respond so well to this and it goes to show how important that personal connection and mutual respect are in the classroom. I am eager to hear about your experience in your practicum, and I hope it doesn't turn you off from this age group although I understand exactly what you mean.

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This page contains a single entry by hoelz006 published on December 6, 2010 1:15 PM.

Review of "The Skin I'm In" by Sharon Flake is the next entry in this blog.

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