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Being a middle school teacher is a challenging and rewarding experience. It requires that teachers are responsive to young adolescents’ physical, neural, cognitive and socio-emotional changes, which in turn, should result in professionals that go beyond their subject matter into actually broadening their clinical skills. Manning and Bucher (2012) corroborate that thought explaining that excellence in teaching depends on how the teachers understand middle schoolers’ uniqueness and how they answer to their needs (28). Middle school educational experiences should reflect young adolescents’ development so that academic requirements could be accommodated according their particular needs and student learning outcomes optimized due to challenging and relevant content. For instance, sleeping patterns, growth spurt, cognitive development and socio-emotional regulation are factors that if not properly addressed, will interfere in middle schoolers’ academic results.
Besides being knowledgeable about young adolescents’ needs, it is important that teachers are aware of such needs in light of the contemporary issues teens face (Manning and Bucher, 2012, 28). Therefore, the ability to reflectively listen to the students and acknowledge their difficulties and frustrations, will help them learn how to regulate their own emotions while going through this period of drastic changes. I strongly agree with Manning and Bucher (2012) that motivational support is as important as effective curriculum and instruction (28); in other words, by developing a trustworthy and caring relationship with young adolescents and a positive school climate, they’ll feel that the school is a safe place to learn. Brown and Knowles (2007) also agree that community members and teachers can exert strong influence on young adolescents (45). Therefore, guiding them to further maturity through the development of good interpersonal relationships will also improve academic learning.
Brown, Dave F, and Trudy Knowles. What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know. 2nd ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2007. 290. Print.
Manning, M. Lee., and Katherine T. Bucher. Teaching in the Middle School. 4th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012. Print.