When interviewing for a teaching job, you may get some odd questions; here is an answer you may need.
Question: “What are middle school students like?”
Answer: Middle school learners are qualitatively different than younger learners. Early adolescents are at a different and usually difficult stage of development. Kids begin to create, seek their own self-image, try new behaviors, and wonder. Improving student-teacher relationships should always be a the forefront of your mind.
Students at this age are sensitive. They seem mature but often lack the experiences to understand the changes they are encountering. Many find it difficult to cope. Some students worry about their ability to learn and keep up. They are torn between the desire for independence and the desire to please adults.
By this stage, most students have begun developing the ability to understand symbolic ideas and abstract concepts. Piaget observed that most children in this age group operate on the concrete level of intellectual development. Children only see black/white issues at this level, not shades of grey like adults do. Children have a strong sense of justice, and abstract concepts may be discussed but are less often understood.
Most Students Share the Following Characteristics
- Curious and willing to learn things they consider useful
- Enjoy solving “real-life” problems.
- Focused on themselves and how their peers perceive them.
- Resist adult authority and assert independence
- Beginning to think critically.
Middle School Social Development
Most middle students experience conflicting values due to their changing roles within their family structure and peers’ increasing influence. Generally speaking, most students share the following characteristics:
- Desire to feel part of a peer group consisting of boys and girls and are influenced by peer pressure, peer approval, and conformity to their group.
- Prefer active over passive learning activities that involve working with their peers
- Require frequent physical activity and movement
- Need adult support, guidance, and calm direction
If you understand how middle schoolers think, you can adjust your teaching style and behavioral management accordingly. Demonstrating a comprehensive knowledge of early adolescent behavior will make the hiring choice much easier for a school district.
If you need help preparing for this or any other interview question — never fear! Candace is here to help.