Although being a middle school teacher has its ups and downs, the “ups” are magical moments that make all the challenges worth it. Here are the top reasons why teaching middle school is by far the best job ever.
1. It’s still easy to impress middle school students.
Middle schoolers might have a jaded reputation, but middle school teachers know they’re actually pretty easy to “wow.” They will rave over your pencil collection, clap at your fast typing skills, and if you bring in some homemade cookies … game over.
2. That said, middle school students tell it like it is.
If your haircut is bad, your outfit is so-last-year, or your mascara smudged onto your eyelid, you can count on middle school students to let you know. Maybe the tact is missing in the way they tell you, but they will hold you accountable and make sure you’re on point.
3. They also have a ridiculous sense of humor.
If the swirly brown emoji is in the frequently used list on your phone, there’s no doubt you’re teaching middle school. As adults, we’ve learned restraint with our jokes, but I know most of you enjoy the irony that potty talk is number three on this list. Middle school students may not have sophisticated humor, but their silly, awkward jokes keep us laughing, which must add years to our lives.
4. You live in an Axe body spray ad.
You know the Axe body spray commercials where a young lad is clouding himself in a large mist of fragrance and, as a result of his fresh scent, is suddenly chased by a herd of bikini-clad women? Well, the middle school hallway usually includes at least one young lad who, like the commercial, THINKS the herd will come his way. As a result, he keeps spraying, and spraying, and spraying. The herd never comes, but the smell lasts forever. If you’re a middle school teacher, you’ve walked through the Axe cloud at least once … a day.
5. You have an endless supply of funny stories at parties.
If you’re teaching middle school, there is no doubt you have a good story to share with friends at happy hour. Joey, who just wanted to taste the berries off of a mysterious bush during a fire drill and came to tell you he wasn’t feeling well with lips stained purple? Great story. Timmy who listed “porn” as a genre? It IS a genre, after all. You can make your friends laugh, only slightly at your expense.
6. People bless you … often.
When a person asks your profession, and you respond with “middle school teacher,” more often than not, you get a response similar to this: “God bless you, honey!” It happens once a grocery store trip for me, usually by a sweet, older woman who walks away shaking her head in disbelief that any sane human being can choose to work with preteens as a profession.
7. Middle school students have hope.
When the world gets crazy and adults are hard to deal with, middle school students often speak the truth. When there is a problem or a person in need, middle school students are the first to run to their teachers to propose a solution. They KNOW they can make a difference in the world. They don’t consider the obstacles—which when riding their bike over that giant ramp they made out of plywood to land in their pool is completely scary—but when it comes to their plans of saving the world, it is downright inspiring.
8. Your own relationship suddenly seems INCREDIBLY functional.
Middle school relationships are just weird to begin with. Think Napoleon-Dynamite-level awkward. However, their five-minute relationships that exist via text messages sent from across the room make your relationship seem more functional than ever. I once walked down the hallway with one of my students who passed their supposed soulmate, and both of them looked as far away from the other as they possibly could. They were deeply in love, but talking and eye contact were clearly not their things.
9. You have celebrity status.
If you ever see your middle school students in public, they are not only shocked, they likely come running towards you screaming your name. And they often travel in packs. You go to the grocery store? Their middle-school mind is blown. You shop at the mall? Mind. Blown. If they ever happen to see you outside of school with another teacher, I’m not sure they can recover.
10. You become part of a special tribe.
Middle school teachers stick together. You have to because you’re all slightly crazy. As a result, your middle school tribe has your back when things get tough, when it feels like no one else is supporting you in reaching the needs of some of the neediest little beings on earth, and when you are so exhausted you need a quadruple espresso shot from the nearest coffee shop STAT.
11. Middle school students need you.
It is nice to be needed once in a while, and those one hundred-ish students need YOU to help them figure out some of the most difficult years of their lives. How does one handle all of these shifting, crazy hormones? What do you do when your friends don’t invite you to that party? How can a human being recover when the person you shared a 100 day Snapchat streak with suddenly forgets about you? Tomorrow will be a better day. You know that. You lived it yourself, and you’ve seen years of students make it through the good and the bad to grow into pretty amazing human beings. When your desk is surrounded by confused, scared, unsure tweens an hour after the final bell rings, you tell them that you believe that they, too, will make it through. You, middle school teacher, empower kids when they need it the most.
12. For middle school students, every emotion is heightened.
Wait? This made the good list? Yes, the drama is heightened, the breakups are devastating (they were together for a WHOLE DAY!), being overwhelmed means their homework is LITERALLY GOING TO RUIN THEIR LIVES, but they also love with their whole hearts. And that means they love you. Middle school students still regard their teachers as heroes. Although they are obviously incredibly cool (remember, they used Axe body spray this morning), they also really look up to you for guidance. After all, one cannot navigate being in the middle alone.
Why do you think teaching middle school is the best job ever? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.