Middle School Teachers

by Kate Williams

What Middle School Teachers Do

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades.

Work Environment

Middle school teachers work in public and private schools. They generally work during school hours when students are present and use nights and weekends to prepare lessons and grade papers. Most do not work during the summer.

How to Become a Middle School Teacher

Middle school teachers typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Pay

The median annual wage for middle school teachers was $59,660 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of middle school teachers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Rising student enrollment should increase demand for middle school teachers, but employment growth will vary by region.

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grade. Middle school teachers help students build on the fundamentals taught in elementary school and prepare students for high school.

Duties

Middle school teachers typically do the following:

  • 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

Middle school typically goes from sixth to eighth grades. However, in some school districts, middle school may begin in fourth grade or extend through ninth grade.

In many schools, middle school teachers are responsible for 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.

Some middle schools have English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) teachers who work with students learning the English language. ESL and ESOL teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help the students with assignments for their classes.

Middle school teachers may also work with special education teachers to adapt lessons. In some cases, middle school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Teachers must be comfortable using and learning new technology. With parents, teachers may use text-messaging applications 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.

Middle school teachers held about 627,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of middle school teachers were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; local 86%

Most states have tenure laws, which provide job security after a certain number of years of satisfactory teaching.

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.

Work Schedules

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.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of middle school teachers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts.

Bachelor’s degree $58,110

Childcare Workers

Childcare workers attend to the basic needs of children, such as dressing, feeding, and overseeing play.

High school diploma or equivalent $24,230

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals oversee all school operations, including daily school activities.

Master’s degree $96,400

High School Teachers

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor’s degree $61,660

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, implement it, and assess its effectiveness.

Master’s degree $66,290

Librarians

Librarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use.

Bachelor’s degree $59,500

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and technical subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $79,540

Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten.

Associate’s degree $30,520

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed. Career counselors help people choose a path to employment.

Master’s degree $57,040

Social Workers

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives.

See How to Become One $50,470

Special education teachers

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities.

Bachelor’s degree $61,030

Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction.

Some college, no degree $27,920

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects in order to prepare them for future schooling.

Bachelor’s degree $59,420

For more information about teaching and becoming a teacher, visit

Teach.org

American Federation of Teachers

National Education Association

For more information about teacher preparation programs, visit 

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

O*NET

Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Middle School Teachers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm (visited ).


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