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Is Middle School an Effective Educational Entity?

I came across a very interesting teacher's perspective on the middle school recently. After reading it, I realized that one inherent issue with middle school is that it has always and still does lack definition. Yes, one could argue that it is defined by its title...a "middle school" that is between elementary and high school. However, is it treated as such? Not in many districts. Should the middle school follow a curriculum and structure of its own? Are tweens a group of their own? I think so. I think the middle school needs to be examined very carefully. I feel that the majority of high-school drop outs don't wait until high school to fall behind, give up, and drop out. At the same time, most fifth graders are still trying hard, trying to please their teachers, parents, etc.

The document that I found that made me start to consider this issue is available upon request. There are undeniable issues with what teachers are being asked to do in Middle Schools across the nation. I think the time has come to look more closely at those who have for so long been neglected.

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  • Jan 14 2013: The doc I found: A typical middle school teacher has between 90 and 160 students per year. Depending on the structure the school follows, classes can have between 20 and 30 students per class, and classes can last anywhere from 40 to 100 minutes. Many schools heterogeneously group students, which means that a single class can have students who read on a fourth grade reading level in the same class as students who will be in an honors English class in high-school and are already reading on a 12th grade reading level. Mixed messages are just the beginning of the problem…

    • teach your whole class how to read and write
    • teach each child how to interpret text
    • make sure every child has a text on his or her reading level
    • make sure each child can read complex texts
    • make sure every child can recall story plot, elements and explain their purpose
    • make sure every child can explain the theme of a text
    • ask high level questions
    • students should be able to interpret non fiction
    • students should be able to understand how ancient texts, such as biblical texts, are used in modern work
    • don’t include religion in the classroom
    • make sure every child stands and recites the pledge “One nation, under God.”
    • allow every child to have freedom of choice
    • maximize instructional time
    • take your time with attendance and don’t make a mistake
    • keep track of who is on what trip
    • make sure you give makeup work to anyone who was absent
    • collect and read all entries in the WNB in case a child has written something concerning
    • report any concerning entries to the guidance counselor
    • maintain a positive report with students
    • don’t touch or hug a student…even a pat on the back is NOT ok
    • actively supervise lunch duty
    • be sure you respond to parents in a timely manner
    • decorate the bulletin board
    • decorate your classroom
    • have comfortable seating areas for students to relax and read
    • don’t have anything that is covered in fabric in case of a lice breakout
    TBC

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