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You are here: Home > Teaching Tips for Books You've Purchased > School Tips & Education Articles > Middle School Observations

Middle School - A down to Earth Version Observation of an Age group

Personal Observations:

Middle School is a funny age.  I will define it as 6-8 grade, even if some schools do only 7-8 grade and others do 7-9 grade.  The two districts I sub in are different, one is 6-8 grade and the other is 7-8 grade.  The good thing about this age is they still (usually) respect authority, even in challenging schools.  So I have found a structured environment works well to get the students working.  Peer pressure is huge.  There are a lot of self-confidence issues with students in middle school.  They are very unsure of themselves, even if they often don't show it by projecting a image of not caring, being super tough, etc.  This can be a lot more challenging of students.  Sexual awareness is definitely happening at this age.  And the kids are a lot more squirely at this age (hard to keep their attention).  Their bodies are going through a lot of changes.  The students are transitioning from being children to adults, and figuring out their place in the world, sometimes very painfully. They are finding the limits out there on what they are allowed to do, and not do.  My opinion is that middle school should be 7-8, and 6 grade should stay at the elementary level because of the emotion and physical development of the students.  There is usually, a huge difference in size and development between a six grader and an eighth grader.  What the students wear changes dramatically, and the female students often start wearing clothes that are much more sexual in nature (yes, I do believe in school uniforms, especially after I have seen what some of the middle school students wear to school).  With some students, I have even seen piercings at this age. 

I am subbing a six grade class all week, and my first/second period is very challenging and are pulling a lot of tricks trying to work as little as possible and get out of class as early as possible.  Lot of lies unfortunately.  Lieing is a behavior I don't see K-4 grade, but I see it a lot more in 6-12 grade at more challenging schools.

Book Stuff:


The body is going through significant changes in puberty as does the brain.  This has been shown in intelligence tests that vary between the age of 12-15.  Piaget believed that puberty enables brain changes that enable complex thinking to happen for some individuals.  That they can understand abstract meaning and principles.  They can plan lengthier, complex operations because they have achieved the adult stage of live.

Physical: Puberty starts usually about middle school.  A series of physical changes as the body becomes capable of reproduction.  There are some kids who do become pregnant in middle school.  Females go through this transition on average 1-2 years before males.  The age of puberty has been dropping due to better nutrition.  The amount of time takes from 18 months to 6 years, and varies between people.

Social - The amount of time spent with friends increases dramatically.  They may spend more time with their friends than family or by themselves.  There is an increase in self-discloure, intimacy, and loyalty among friends.  Peer pressure can be significant.  Being accepted can be very helpful for self-esteeem (being popular).  Those students who are not popular can exhibit agressive traits, low self-esteem, etc.

Emotional - The need for acceptance becomes much greater among peers.  Students often confide information to teachers they would not usually.  Some children which were formally very easy to control and get them to do their work, start challenging teachers.  Not being accepted by peers can bring major emotional problems.  The students believe that nobody understands them, except their peers.  Some become very alienated from school.  Their are also challenging problems going on with the student parent relationship.  Where the student wants to be treated differently, and the parent still sees them as a child.  Peer pressure and group identity become much more important.  What I have noticed, is even rebellion becomes a group thing.  With students all dressing rebelliously in the same way.  Their is a lot more emotional conflict.  Anger is a common emotion at this age, and is much more intense than other emotions.  This is a very stressful age.  Emotional disturbstances are common.


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