How to Be an Effective Middle School Teacher Part 4

These are the final five tips I have for you about how to be an effective middle school teacher. Feel free to add your own tips in the comment section!

Be choosey about what you grade.

There is only so much time in the day. Pick the most important things to grade, and don’t get behind in your grading. Return graded work to students quickly so they have time to learn from their mistakes and get feedback about how to improve. I think we’ve all had that teacher who returned assignments a month or two or three after assigning them. I don’t know about you, but that always irritated me. Here are some tips on how to reduce grading time.

Get feedback on how to improve your teaching.

This can be from your students. When I was teaching middle school, my students would grade me twice a year. Their comments helped me reflect on my teaching practices and make improvements. I gained valuable insight from those little dudes and dudettes. If you’re serious about improving your teaching skills, let your students grade you. You can also request to have fellow teachers and administrators observe you. Observations are scary. I know. I hated them. But I learned so much from them that they were almost always worth the sleepless nights, nail-biting, and massive pit stains that preceded them.

Differentiate your lessons when feasible.

Challenge your students at their level. Too much challenge and they will shut down. Too little challenge and they aren’t really learning. Differentiation can mean the difference between an okay teacher and an amazing teaching. Many times, the most advanced students in class don’t get the challenge they need. Here’s how you can challenge those students.

Know that some classes are just wonky.

This doesn’t make you a bad teacher. Without fail, there has always been one “off” class every year of my teaching career. I’ve made great strides with those classes, usually, but never perfected them. What works for most classes might not work for your “off” class.

Take care of yourself!

Teacher burnout is real and common. Your needs need to be met. If you’re unhappy and struggling, you aren’t your best teacher self. Regularly take time for yourself and do what you love.

Thank you for reading! I'd love to hear your tips! Please add your own teacher tips to the comments section below.

Previous Teacher Tips:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

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  1. I have to thank you for this blog series. I am in my final classes before I start an internship. My present class is on classroom management and it is one I have been waiting for, I have done several long term sub assignments. I learned a lot from this and it affirmed other ideas I have. I do not know what I will be teaching yet, but I will be keeping this blog handy for when I do get my first classroom.

    1. Hey Kristi!
      You are so welcome! I'm very happy you found my blog posts useful. Good luck to you in your new teaching position!

  2. Elly, I am starting to teach seventh grade this upcoming Monday and I am very nervous/excited! I've taught elementary before but middle school is a brand new world for me. Thank you for this blog. It has given me many ideas!

    1. Hello! For some reason I'm just seeing your comment now. I hope your start to teaching 7th grade went well and you are enjoying the change to middle school! I'm happy that my blog helped :)