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Characteristics of Middle School Teachers

by Soheila Battaglia, studioD

Middle school teachers are responsible for children's education, but their attitude and instruction methods also influences students' behavior, confidence and sense of community. Teachers should be patient, firm, encouraging and dynamic in the classroom. They should also accommodate the diverse backgrounds and learning styles of their students.


A crucial characteristic for middle school instructors is self-control. Middle school students are at an age when they experience changes that affect their behavior and confidence. Teachers should be able to respond to classroom challenges or problems without exhibiting aggression or anger. A calm and tolerant attitude toward students will avoid unnecessary incidents that disrupt academic lessons. Modeling patience also serves as a example for the students to emulate in the face of their own personal challenges.


Maintaining firmness and order in the classroom is particularly important for students aged 11 to 14. Middle school instructors should make a habit of following through with predetermined rules that have been explicitly stated at the start of the year. By following through with established rules, teachers model proper work ethic while garnering respect from their adolescent students. Keeping order in the classroom and minimizing disruptions maximizes the learning potential for all students.


A primary objective of school in general is to impart knowledge to students; therefore, a primary responsibility of middle school teachers is to communicate the curriculum effectively, bearing in mind the Common Core Standards when relevant. Amy Rose Gelinas of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst writes that middle school teachers must transmit "a core of common knowledge to his or her students." To do this effectively, teachers should use different teaching strategies to accommodate students' individual learning styles.


A significant aspect of the classroom experience is the rapport between teacher and student. To attain a supportive community in the classroom, middle school teachers should posses a positive attitude, exhibit enjoyment of children and be sensitive to diverse cultures and backrounds. These traits will heighten a teacher's ability to connect with students in that age group. Dr. John A. Huss from Arizona State University notes that middle school teachers should be a primary source of guidance and support for their students.

About the Author

Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker. She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley. She is a college professor of literature and composition.

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