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What Middle School Teachers Do

Middle school teachers educate students, most of whom are in sixth through eighth grade. They help students build on the fundamentals they learned in elementary school and prepare them for the more difficult lessons they will learn in high school.


Middle school teachers typically do the following:

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 throughout the day. For example, one teacher may be responsible for teaching English and social studies while another is responsible for teaching math and science.

Some middle school instructors teach special classes, such as art, music, or physical education. 

Often, students change classrooms several times a day to attend lessons in different subjects. As a result, middle school teachers in these schools see several different classes of students throughout the day.

In some schools, middle school 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 English. 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 skills and to help the students with assignments for their other classes.

Middle school teachers also work with special education teachers to adapt lessons to the needs of students with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders who are taught in traditional classes and to monitor these students’ progress. In some cases, middle school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers. For more information, see the profile on special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about their students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For 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.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition