Middle school teachers are responsible for the educational development of students who have completed elementary school but are not yet in high school. Typically, middle schools cover students in grades five or six through eight. Middle school teachers delve more deeply into subjects that were introduced in elementary school and expose their students to more information about them. Unlike elementary school teachers, middle school teachers usually specialize in a specific subject, such as English, mathematics, history, or physics. Day-to-day duties are wide-ranging and include such tasks as preparation of course objectives, assignment of lessons, correction of tests, establishment of class rules of conduct, and liaisons with parents to address academic and behavioral issues.
Education, Certification, Licensing
Middle school teachers are subject to specific educational requirements set by the state in which they teach. Every state requires at minimum a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university along with an approved teacher training program which includes a prescribed number of subject and education credits as well as supervised practice teaching. Many states require teachers to earn a master’s degree in education either before they begin teaching or within a specified period afterwards. Most aspiring middle school teachers will obtain their bachelor’s in the subject area they plan to teach and then earn either their teaching credits or a master’s degree in education.
All states require middle school public teachers to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but always include an educational requirement along with the ability to pass certain tests which demonstrate competency in teaching and proficiency in the subject being taught. Most states require periodic renewal of licenses contingent upon completion of a minimum number of hours of continuing education as a pre-condition for renewal. Some school systems are adopting performance-based criteria for license renewal, which typically requires teachers to demonstrate satisfactory teaching performance over an extended period in order to qualify.