Why I Chose High School

Are you a middle school person or a high school person? Today, I’m talking about my student teaching days, back when I taught 6th grade in the morning and 11th grade in the afternoon. Pretty quickly, I knew which path I was going to take.

Teacher testing video from a few weeks ago: https://youtu.be/c1sGUKyjFIw

Okay, teachers, let’s rumble! Which is better – middle school or high school? Explain your vote. What’s your favorite grade level to teach and why? If you voluntarily teach 8th graders, please know that I think you are a saint. Then, leave a comment to help me understand your very brave career choice.

8 thoughts on “Why I Chose High School

  1. Kayte Russell says:

    8th is better than 7th. In 8th, the students are a little more mature. At my site, many want to be accepted into Catholic high schools, so there is some incentive to stay focused, at least until April. I also teach U.S. History, Morality, and my favorite multi-disciplinary unit on World War II/the Holocaust.
    I like the novels I teach in 7th, but often there is a challenge of maturity.

  2. Thanks for this, Kayte. You’re helping me re-frame my view of 8th graders and I can see how high school applications would greatly impact their focus. Your classes also sound really interesting.

  3. Anne Atchison says:

    In my forty-third year of teaching, I am still in love with Middle School kids and their passion to discover who they are, what they stand for, and their place in the world. Below is what eighth-graders wrote yesterday in conjunction with “For Every One” by Jason Reynolds.

    Long Way From The Top

    I’m a long way from the top
    Can barely see the clouds, yet reaching for the stars
    Looking down shows little more
    The ground is nothing more than a dot in the distance
    Long way up from there
    I could fall back down with just a slip
    But no
    I go up
    There’s something up there, I know there is
    I’ve seen others reach the peak
    It’s a long way up, but I’ve certainly come too far to fall now

    My friends climb by my side
    I’d be at the bottom by now if not for them
    I don’t know why they’re here
    I never bothered to ask
    But I know
    Know they want to get there just as much as I do
    They’ve risked as much
    Maybe more
    But they’re here with me
    And I’d never have it any other way

    There’s more than I can see
    More people
    They don’t climb how I do
    They don’t fall like I do
    Some stopped trying at all
    But they’re there
    Some are up there, just waiting
    Some just started
    Some think it will be easy
    Some stress for years before they even lift a foot off the ground
    Some fall
    Some get back up again
    Some are so high that nobody can see them
    Yet none will ever reach the limit
    I know little of them
    But I know one thing
    I will never be alone

    I’m a long way from the top
    But getting there was never the point

    dear existence
    by zainab

    dear existence,
    my hope for the world is that people will no longer be silenced,
    and i promise to use my voice to speak up.
    my hope for the world is that everyone is treated fairly,
    and i promise to be kind to everyone.
    my hope for the world is that everyone is welcomed,
    and i promise to welcome everyone.

    dear existence,
    what would the world be without the people that make it?
    love comes in many forms, from family to friends and everyone else,
    and i hope that people i love know,
    that when it is raining,
    the sun will shine again.
    when we see shadows,
    there is light too.
    and when everything is dark,
    you only need to see the light.

    dear existence,
    for you, i hope that things continue to change,
    that our posterity may live in a brighter world than we do,
    that they may not have to experience the hate some of us do,
    that they may not have to be powerless to change anything,
    and instead that they may be the change.

    dear existence,
    i hope for a kinder world.

  4. Your students’ work is just beautiful, Anne. You, along with several other 8th grade teachers who reached out to me yesterday, just might be changing my mind. Please let Cade and Zainab know they are now published writers. 🙂

  5. Dear Laura . . . School is finally out for me and I just read this new post. I taught ninth grade World Lit. and 11th grade American Lit. for many years and I love the curriculum. They get my jokes and we can have real-life discussions. However, 5 years ago in my district in California I was transferred to one of my districts middle schools because there wasn’t room at the high school and the alternative school that I taught at was being closed because of lack of enrollment. The first year I taught 7th & 8th graders. The last two years I taught 6th & 7th grade ELA. Now I teach 6th grade ELA in Nevada at a title one middle school. I choose middle school because it is less stressful, for the most part. There aren’t as many demands on my time after school as there are at the high school level. I also like 6th graders. I am not crazy about the curriculum, but I do what I can to make it work. Have a good one.


  6. Thanks for sharing your path, Kendall. District reassignments are just…so…well, you know. How’s Nevada for you? That was on our short list before we ended up choosing Tennessee for our latest move. I miss that high desert air!

  7. Hi Laura . . . Nevada is hot and very dry. I have gotten to see more of it since we went back to teaching from school. Still learning my way around. I miss rain, the ocean and greenery.


  8. I hear you! Tennessee is so…damp. My skin loves it here, but my soul misses that California sunshine.

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