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What Does a Middle School Teacher Do

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 the more difficult curriculum they will face in high school.

Duties

Middle school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students a subject, such as biology or history
  • 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 to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents 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, at lunchtime or during detention

Middle school teachers generally teach students from sixth to eighth grades. However, in some school districts, they may teach students as early as fourth grade or as late as ninth grade.

In many schools, middle school teachers are responsible for only some of the subjects their students learn. For example, one teacher may be responsible for teaching English and social studies while another may be responsible for teaching math and science. Some middle school instructors teach specialized classes, such as art, music, or physical education. 

Students typically change classrooms several times a day to attend lessons in different subjects. As a result, middle school teachers see several different classes of students throughout the day. However, in some middle schools, teachers teach all the subjects for one class of students the entire day. In either type of school, 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 school teachers work in teams that teach the same group of students. These teachers meet to discuss students’ progress and to plan future lessons.

In some schools, teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) work exclusively with students who are learning the English language. These students are often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). 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 other classes.

Middle school teachers may also work with special education teachers to adapt lessons taught in traditional classes to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders. In some cases, middle school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For their students, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand 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.

How To Become a Middle School Teacher

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

Education

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 preparation program and take classes in education and child psychology in addition to the classes required by their major.

Teacher education programs teach prospective middle school teachers how to present information to students and how to work with students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.

Some states require middle school teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification.

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. Those who teach in private schools are not usually required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Certification of middle school teachers varies considerably from state to state. In some states, they are certified to teach elementary school grades, which are typically first through sixth grades or first through eighth grades. In other states, they are certified to teach middle school grades, which include sixth through eighth grades. Other states provide middle school teachers with a secondary school or high school certification, which often includes seventh through twelfth grades.

Requirements for certification also vary by state. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, they are also required to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, which is typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. States typically require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.

Teachers are often required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification 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. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either of these programs.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to perform fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with other teachers and special education teachers. In addition, they need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Middle school teachers must be patient when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with middle school aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Middle school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that students can understand. In addition, they need to be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt lessons to each student’s needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to newer teachers or to become lead teachers. In these positions, they help less experienced teachers to improve their 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. For more information, see the profiles on school and career counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, and elementary, middle, and high school principals.

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Average Salary
$47,261
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
3%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
41,963
Job Openings

Middle School Teacher Career Paths

Top Careers Before Middle School Teacher

Teacher
27.2 %

Top Careers After Middle School Teacher

Teacher
25.0 %

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Average Salary for a Middle School Teacher

Middle School Teachers in America make an average salary of $47,261 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $36,000 per year.
Average Salary
$47,261

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Portland, OR
Salary Range57k - 87k$71k$70,933
Santa Rosa, CA
Salary Range55k - 83k$68k$67,919
New York, NY
Salary Range55k - 80k$67k$66,720
Washington, DC
Salary Range53k - 75k$63k$63,292
Seattle, WA
Salary Range50k - 75k$62k$61,655
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range44k - 63k$53k$52,905
$30k
$87k

Recently Added Salaries

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Middle School Tutor
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$31,30503/30/2021
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Middle School Tutor
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03/30/2021
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$31,30503/30/2021
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Varsity Tutors
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03/30/2021
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$31,30503/30/2021
$31,305
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03/30/2021
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$31,30503/30/2021
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Middle School Teacher Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Middle School Teacher. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Middle School Teacher Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Middle School Teacher resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Middle School Teacher Demographics

Gender

female

59.9 %

male

34.1 %

unknown

6.0 %

Ethnicity

White

74.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.1 %

Black or African American

9.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.6 %

French

12.7 %

Chinese

4.6 %
See More Demographics

Middle School Teacher Education

Degrees

Bachelors

63.7 %

Masters

21.2 %

Certificate

7.2 %

Top Colleges for Middle School Teachers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. Brown University

Providence, RI • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,466
Enrollment
6,752

10. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567
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Top Skills For a Middle School Teacher

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 14.8% of middle school teachers listed student learning on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and physical stamina are important as well.

  • Student Learning, 14.8%
  • Classroom Management, 12.9%
  • Professional Development, 11.1%
  • Instructional Materials, 7.3%
  • Special Education, 5.8%
  • Other Skills, 48.1%
  • See All Middle School Teacher Skills

Best States For a Middle School Teacher

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a middle school teacher. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Massachusetts. Middle school teachers make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $74,139. Whereas in New Hampshire and Oregon, they would average $72,309 and $71,004, respectively. While middle school teachers would only make an average of $70,677 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Middle School Teacher Jobs:
361
Highest 10% Earn:
$99,000
Location Quotient:
1.75
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Rhode Island

Total Middle School Teacher Jobs:
159
Highest 10% Earn:
$102,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Middle School Teacher Jobs:
515
Highest 10% Earn:
$104,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Middle School Teacher Employers

1. Baltimore City Public Schools
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$58,101
Middle School Teachers Hired: 
179+
2. Potomac High School
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$52,156
Middle School Teachers Hired: 
59+
3. Denver County 1
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$41,711
Middle School Teachers Hired: 
35+
4. South Oak Cliff High School
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$50,515
Middle School Teachers Hired: 
29+
5. Discovery
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$40,032
Middle School Teachers Hired: 
24+
6. San Mateo Union High School District
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$50,548
Middle School Teachers Hired: 
23+

Middle School Teacher Videos

Updated October 2, 2020