When most people think about teaching middle school, the idea does not sound particularly appealing. To be completely truthful, the less than desirable parts that people imagine definitely exist.
The job is challenging. There are times when the pitying look people give you when you say that you teach middle school is completely warranted.
But, there are some people who absolutely love teaching middle school, and somehow, I've become one of them. Although I complain about it on certain days, there are some good reasons why teaching middle school really is the best.
1. You have the most exciting stories to tell after work.
Did anyone else have an 11-year-old girl assist them in trapping a yellow jacket in a trash can during the middle of 3rd period while the rest of the class panicked?
I didn't think so.
2. You have an army of enthusiastic people who are ready and willing to volunteer for every task you need completed.
Will it get done well? Maybe, maybe not.
But if you ask for a volunteer, ever single child in the class will raise their hands before you've even explained what you need done.
Passing out handouts, erasing the board, picking up books, moving desks, sharpening pencils. Why is this exciting to them? I don't know, but I am not complaining.
3. The drawings
Maybe this is just 6th grade and not all of middle school, but I get lots of drawings from students. Of dinosaurs eating muffins, of characters from books, of my name, and occasionally of me. Obviously, every single masterpiece needs to be kept in a file folder because you can't just throw them away, right?
4. It's probably the closest to famous you will ever be.
You'll hear people yelling your name all the time. Random kids you don't even know will say hi to you and know your name. When you walk past a group of students lining up, you just smile and wave continuously.
Sometimes, when you're just trying to cross the school parking lot to go home like a normal person, a child will shout your name at the top of his lungs across the athletic field, and then, the entire cross country team will be aware of your presence. Which is only problematic if your two least favorite things are loud noises and having a lot of people looking at you.
5. Every once in a while, your students realize that your last name sounds the same as a death eater in Harry Potter.
I admit this is probably not something that happens to everyone, but I'll leave you to imagine the way a child reacts to my name when they reach the end of the 3rd book.
6. On a related note, you also get to see children reading Harry Potter for the first time.
Most children in middle school are just getting to the age where they are old enough to appreciate the entire series. (I know they could start younger, but the books get darker towards the end of the series.) So you hear them agonizing with each other over every single plot-twist and getting completely caught up in the story.
The best part is when they race into your classroom and go straight to the bookshelf.
Because. They. Need. The. Next. Book. Right. Then.
7. You get to talk about your favorite subjects with students all day long.
Assuming that you teach something you like. Which hopefully you do. Personally, I spend all day long teaching students about reading, writing, and grammar, and I spend about 87% of my time thinking about those things anyway.
8. Your co-workers are awesome.
This one is probably true for high school and elementary, too. At every school I've been at so far, I have been seriously in awe over how these people manage to be hard-working, patient, and dedicated while still being incredibly fun.
Also, some of them make really good food. I felt I needed to point that out because that's one of the criteria that you look for in a quality work environment.
Teaching middle school is not for everyone, and even for the people that it works for, there are moments when it seems like a misguided decision. In all honesty, there are days when I finish work, and I have no idea why it ever seemed like a good idea. But, there are also plenty of moments when middle school really is the best thing ever.