Picture this: your seventh grade students are busily engaged with a project in your classroom. After conducting a survey of their favorite candy, some are looking for statistical patterns and graphing the results. Others measure and classify the candies into geometric shapes: circles, triangles, spheres and cylinders.
Sounds like fun? You’ve created a lively and absorbing lesson plan around some of the interesting topics in middle school Math. Typically, students in middle school are in sixth to eighth grade, ages 12-14. The median pay in 2010 for middle school teachers was $51,960 (Bureau of Labor Statistics) – and that’s for just ten months of work!
Math classes at this level review and build on the basics learned in elementary school, preparing students for more rigorous high school classes. Students connect to algebra with ratios, fractions and square roots, begin studying geometry angles and shapes, and begin to build important Math skills like graphing and estimating.
Most school districts have common job requirements, although they may differ between public and private schools:
- Bachelor of Arts degree: a B.A. in either Mathematics or Education, with a minor in Education or Mathematics.
- Certification or Licensing: state-specific requirements for certificates or licenses to teach Math at the middle school level.
- Student Teaching: practical training in a real classroom supervised by a teacher.
A successful middle school teacher should also have a unique personality to work with young adolescents. Do these describe you?
- You have a sense of humor – a necessity in dealing with young people going through many hormonal, physical and emotional changes.
- You are passionate about Math and eager to get students to appreciate your subject.
- You want to see students do their best as they prepare for high school.
Can you see yourself teaching a love for Math to tweens and teens? If so, read on.
Steps to Becoming a Middle School Math Teacher
It’s important to enroll in a college that will give you the degree you need. Here’s how to get started:
- Research colleges. Start with the College Board BigFuture website, where you can search by major and location. Think about public college or private (generally more expensive), and whether you want to stay in your area.
- Consider online learning. Many online universities offer education degrees that are partially or all online. Online schools offer the ultimate in flexibility as courses are 24/7, and you’ll save money on commuting costs. Get started by filling out our convenient sign-up form.
- Check admission requirements. All colleges differ in their admission requirements. Some require entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT. Others may have their own college readiness assessment tests.
- Talk with an admissions counselor. He or she can help you assess your eligibility for admission and advise you on next steps.
- Identify tuition and other costs. There is an incredible variation in costs among colleges. You can save money by taking core courses at a local community college, then transferring to a four-year school. An online college can allow you to continue to work, even full-time, enabling you to earn while learning.
- Explore financing options. All colleges and universities offer many forms of financial aid. The website for the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) office is the best place to start. You’ll find information on financial aid for the school you’ve chosen, as well as application materials. Check with your school directly for scholarships and work-related aid. Do your homework so you aren’t left with overwhelming student loan debt.
Now’s the time – seize your dream – and go for a career that’s fun and rewarding!