Elementary School vs. Middle School

My experiences in both settings

Soooo... it's been quite a long time since I've written a blog post. That being said, I want to talk about one MAJOR change that has happened. I moved from 4th grade science to 7th grade science for the 2018-2019 school year. One of my favorite quotes is, 'Everything happens for a reason.' This saying couldn't have fit my situation better than if it had come from God himself! I taught middle school at a private school in California, but I had never had experience with public school 7th graders. Since my son & nephew are in 8th grade where I started teaching, I knew a little bit about the school. I've seen quite a few social media posts recently about elementary teachers moving to middle school for this next school year. In the spirit of those posts, I'd like to highlight a few glaring yet delightful differences between elementary and middle school.

1.   In middle school, there are NO scheduled parent-teacher conferences!!! My district's policy is for elementary school teachers to have a conference with every one of their students' parents after the 1st six weeks. Prepping for those conferences as well as having to sit down with each parent was stressful and emotionally exhausting! Most parents with middle schoolers are trying to teach them to be more responsible, so we don't deal with as many parents as elementary school teachers do!

2.   NO class parties!!! I cannot even tell you how much I LOVE this!!! Not having to plan parties and everything that goes along with that is pure bliss!!! Yes, middle school students want to 'celebrate' Valentine's Day.... by having free time on their phones!!! LOL!!!! As a school, we do things like Val-o-Grams for Valentine's Day and decorate for Christmas. But, we don't have elaborate parties with endless junk food and games that take forever to plan! I didn't realize I wouldn't miss this aspect until I didn't have to plan parties this year! 

3.   No school themes or cutesy decorations! I'm all about attractive looking classrooms and schools, but spending hours getting my classroom and school ready for a new school year is insane! In my first years of teaching before I was married or had a child, I would change my room every season and every unit we covered! Fast forward 19 years a few years and that same person who LOVED changing her classroom multiple times a year is perfectly content having pretty decorations that stay up all year and possibly more than one! I don't have the youthful energy I did 19 years a few years ago!

4.   My 7th graders (at least most of them) are much more mature and independent than 4th graders! It is so nice to have a normal conversation and be able to joke around with my 7th graders! Although with that being said, middle schoolers can have a bit of an attitude sometimes. But, if you build a rapport with them and treat them with respect, they will be more receptive to your expectations and demands! I LOVE the fact that 7th graders are old enough to understand (or should understand) that high quality work and effort are expected of them. If they don't produce what is expected, their grades will suffer! 

All in all, I couldn't imagine teaching anything other than 7th grade... well, maybe college! 😉 For those of you take that giant leap,  good luck! Middle schoolers are fun!!

A blog post about my experiences in both settings.

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