How to become a middle school math teacher
Introduction to the field
To get a job as a middle school math teacher, the steps are basically the same as the steps to follow to become a high school math teacher.
You must become certified. To become certified , you will have to pass a state test to get a preliminary license. The state then will give you a license valid for 3 to 5 years.
For example, to become certified in math, I took 2 tests. First, I took the math test and the communication and literacy skills test. After I passed all tests, they gave me a licence valid for 5 years.
In the mean time they expect you to pursue a master in education in order to become fully qualified. There are other paths though. Some people complete all requirements, to include master's program while in college.
You can, however, get a job without certification if there is a great need. Then, after you are hired, the state or the school you work for expects you to get your certification as soon as possible.
If you have never taught before, your greatest challenge, more than anything else, will be your students.
Yes, teaching middle school students is probably the most difficult endeavor ever. Not to scare off, but to prepare you!
Middle school students enter the classroom with a variety of problems. Hormonal and physical changes as they enter into puberty is one of those problems and teenagers do not usually know how to deal with those changes, or even how to explain this to an adult.
As a result, they express their fear and emotion with anger, disruptive behaviors, the breaking of laws, and showing no respect for authority.
If on top of that, you are the middle school math teacher, things do not get better because for some math can be their worst nightmare. Furthermore, many kids start middle school with lots of gaps in their learning
Here is my advice if you want to become a middle school math teacher
As I said, this is just my advice. What works for me may not work for you. However, I have had some experience as a middle school math teacher and I found it to be very useful to do the following:
1) First and foremost be very prepared to teach your class. This means that you should have a well established lesson plan ready to teach the class. Present your lesson well, no complicated jargon! Remember, if you are not prepared, then they will be prepared for you.
2) Be very respectful regardless and do not yell. If you are not respectful and you yell at them, you are just teaching them that yelling and being disrespectful are appropriate ways to deal with frustrations.
3) Listen, listen, listen, and listen to them. At this age, they have lots of questions and concerns. Those need solid answers. If you don't listen to them and try your best to answer those questions, then they have no reasons to listen to you.
4) Be friendly, but do not be a friend. If you do that, you will create a friendly environment conducing to learning as opposed to creating a hostile environment, where students see you as an enemy.
5) Be a problem-solver. Do not solve only math problems, but help your students also solve problems they have between themselves. If you do not do that, be ready to deal with that again.
6) Keep consequences to a minimum. Consequences do not decrease behaviors. How many of you had a speed ticket? Do you still speed? If you say no, sure! Good communications between you and your students can help solve most behavior problems in the classroom.
Getting the job as a middle school math teacher
It may be easier to get a job as a middle school math teacher as opposed to getting one in high school or elementary school because school districts are having problems to retain their teachers because of the great challenge that this may involve sometimes.
You can now make an informed decision. For high school math teaching, see High school math teacher
Anyway, be ready to take a challenge, make a difference, and teach with enthusiasm. Your joy will be immense if you succeed!