Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grade. The average salary for middle school teachers is $61,420 a year.
Middle school teachers help students build on the fundamentals taught in elementary school and prepare students for high school. This occupation is a natural fit for the ESFP personality, also known as the entertainer or performer personality type.
The ESFP wants hands-on and exciting work that is focused on being social. They want to be seen and heard, have fun and be in a work environment where they can have fun. Many jobs that appeal to this personality type are service oriented professions.
A middle school teacher appeals to people who also have social and artistic interests on the O*NET Interest Profiler free career test. Let’s get into what middle school teachers do.
What Do Middle School Teachers Do?
Middle school teachers have the following duties:
- Create lesson plans to teach students a subject
- Assess students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
- Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class or to smaller groups
- Grade students’ assignments and exams
- Communicate with parents or guardians about their child’s progress
- Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
- Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
- Develop and enforce classroom rules
- Supervise students outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or detention
In many schools, middle school teachers teach certain subjects. For example, one teacher may teach math to several different classes of students throughout the day. However, other middle school teachers instruct on every subject to a single class.
Teachers use time during the day when they do not have classes to plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.
Teachers must be comfortable using and learning new technology. With parents, teachers may use text-messaging apps to communicate about students’ assignments and upcoming events.
With their students, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.
Some middle school teachers coach sports teams and advise student clubs and groups, whose practices and meetings frequently take place before or after school.
Is Teaching Middle School a Good Job?
Middle school teachers may find it rewarding to watch students develop new skills and gain an appreciation for knowledge and learning. However, teaching may be stressful.
Schools may have large classes and lack important teaching tools, such as current technology and textbooks. Some states are developing teacher mentoring programs and teacher development courses to help with the challenges of being a teacher.
Working with middle school students as they become adolescents also can be challenging. Teachers need to be aware of and understand what their students are going through outside of the classroom.
Middle school teachers generally work during school hours when students are present. They may meet with parents, students, and other teachers before and after school.
Teachers who coach sports or advise clubs generally do so before or after school. They often spend time in the evenings and on weekends grading papers and preparing lessons.
Many teachers work a traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer. They also have a short midwinter break. Some teachers work during the summer.
Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 9 weeks in a row and then have a break for 3 weeks before starting a new school session.
How to Become a Middle School Teacher
All states require public middle school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Many states require middle school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. Other states require middle school teachers to major in elementary education.
Middle school teachers typically enroll in their college’s teacher education program, which instructs them on presenting information to students of different abilities and backgrounds.
Programs include a student-teaching program, where they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. Check out Teach.org to find out how to become a teacher in your state.
Some states require middle school teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification and obtaining a job.
Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools typically seek middle school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and a major in elementary education or a content area.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified in the specific grade level that they will teach.
Those who teach in private schools typically do not need a license. Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state but may include:
- A bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average
- Completion of a student-teaching program
- Passing a background check
- Passing a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach.
For information about certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.
All states offer an alternative route to certification or licensure for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification.
Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach.
Experienced teachers may advance to serve as mentors to new teachers; they may also become lead teachers. In these positions, they help less experienced teachers to improve teaching skills.
With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators.
Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional education in education administration or leadership.
Middle School Teacher Salary
The national average salary for middle school teachers, excluding special education and career training, is $63,550 as of May 2019. The median salary was $59,660.
Job Growth is Slow
Employment of middle school teachers is projected to grow 3-4% from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations.
States with the Most Teachers
Rising student enrollment should increase demand for middle school teachers, but employment growth will vary by region.
The number of students in public middle schools is expected to increase over the coming decade, and the number of classes needed to accommodate these students is projected to rise.
Despite expected increases in enrollment in public schools, employment growth for middle school teachers often depends on state and local government budgets.
If state and local governments experience budget deficits, they may increase class size while maintaining or reducing teaching staff levels. Conversely, budget surpluses at the state and local level could lead to additional employment growth for middle school teachers.
Opportunities will vary by region and school setting. There may be better opportunities in urban and rural school districts than in suburban school districts. Flexibility in job location may increase job prospects.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of middle school teachers.
For more information about teaching and becoming a teacher, visit
For more information about teacher preparation programs, visit
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