How to Survive Teaching Middle School

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Middle school children, who are approximately ages ten to twelve, are undergoing major changes in their bodies. They are beginning puberty and are caught in between the simplicity of childhood and the complexity of young adulthood. Due to increases in their abstract and logical thinking, middle school students may start to challenge you. Rebellion and moodiness are normal for children of this age and teachers need to be supportive of this transitory stage. You need to understand all the changes your students are going through in order to survive teaching middle school.

1 Write out a set

Write out a set of classroom rules for the first day of school and hand it out to your class. Explain to your students what is expected of them and what the consequences of their actions will be. Set an environment where discipline is important and rules are clearly spelled out for them as they begin to experiment with testing their limits.

2 Expect outbursts and mood swings and

Expect outbursts and mood swings from your students, which are completely normal at this age. Research the development of preteens to feel prepared for this and to help you exercise patience. Use positive reinforcement for their behavior. Let your students know that you are a nonjudgmental adult they can trust and you are always available to talk to.

3 Assign hands

Assign hands-on activities to break up the tedium of long lectures. For example, in a science class, create a class science experiment, or in an English class, ask students to create their own literature comic strips. Help them learn through projects they will enjoy, as middle-schoolers learn best by doing and need more active lessons.

4 Relax

Relax with a yoga or other exercise class after school. Learn to release stress and take those lessons into the classroom. Don't take the normal challenges of working with preteens personally. Have a good sense of humor.

5 Focus on your students

Focus on your students. Listen to what they have to say and use your role as teacher to guide and mentor them. Remember why you are a teacher and know that you can make a difference in a student's life at this important age.

Charong Chow has been writing professionally since 1995. Her work has appeared in magazines such as "Zing" and "Ocean Drive." Chow graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.