Have you always had a passion for working with children, especially adolescents? Are you ready to tackle the challenges of teaching children during one of the most important times of their lives? If so, you may be the perfect fit for UNC Charlotte’s B.A. in Middle Grades Education. This program will train and license you to educate children from Grades 6 to 9 and enable you to make a significant impact on their lives.
In the process of earning this degree, you will learn how to plan and teach an integrated middle-grade curriculum; to meet the unique developmental needs of early adolescents; strategies for working with diverse groups of students; to evaluate students' academic progress; to incorporate technology and current events into your lesson plans; and methods for evaluating your own teaching effectiveness.
Why teach middle school?
It’s true that children in these formative years are undergoing tremendous changes, both intellectually and physically. The child who enters 6th grade will be dramatically different from the young adult who enters high school, and those changes can come with growing pains.
Yet many teachers find middle school the most rewarding age group to teach. Here are a few reasons why middle school teachers love what they do:
- Middle school students change week by week, day by day and hour by hour. As a middle school teacher, you will never experience the same day twice.
- Middle school students are quirky, excitable, and often blessed with a ready sense of humor. They are not yet “too cool for school” and will say whatever pops into their heads, often with hilarious results.
- Middle school students deeply crave their teacher's’ approval and value what their teachers have to say.
- As middle schoolers tentatively enter adulthood, they will look to you to see what it means to be an adult. Many middle school teachers consider this a very great and humbling responsibility.
While the vast majority of our graduates go on to work as teachers, you might serve in an educational, administrative, research, or advocacy position in:
- Adoption agencies
- Agencies serving children with special needs
- Community centers and youth services agencies
- Federal state, and local government agencies
- Foster care agencies
- Military child care programs
- Montessori schools
- Religious youth organizations
- Summer camp programs
Since the field of education is constantly evolving, this is far from an exhaustive list of opportunities. By the time you graduate, there may be even be opportunities available that don’t exist today.
In addition to general courses in mathematics, science, English, and history, you will take courses which will teach you classroom management strategies, behavior management strategies for diverse learning needs, curriculum design, time management skills in the classroom, and various other teaching strategies. In addition, you will be able to choose two of the following concentration options:
- English Language Arts
- Social Studies
You will then take additional classes in your chosen areas to ensure that you are an expert in the fields you intend to teach.
Hands-On Teaching Opportunities
In your final years of study, you will you will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of field experiences in area public schools, where you will observe, interact with, and teach diverse populations of children. Once you have completed your field experiences and required internship, you will be able to apply to become a student teacher.
Once accepted into the student teaching program, you will be placed full-time in a public school classroom for 15 weeks under the supervision of a classroom teacher and university professor. By the time you graduate, you will have weeks of experience under your belt and plenty of experiences to discuss in interviews!