Although being a middle school teacher has its ups and downs, the “ups” are magical moments that make all the challenges worth it. Here are the top reasons why teaching middle school is by far the best job ever.
1. They’re starting to care about big things
They want to be taken seriously—and they should be! They’re starting to have big feelings about their communities and world, and it’s really, really cool to watch them work out where they see themselves in all of it.
2. (But they still care about small things)
Stickers. Class games. Goofy little websites and YouTubers that make no sense. Middle schoolers are in this wild but beautiful wilderness between adult and child. Sometimes it’s like whiplash, but mostly it’s like a rollercoaster. A fun one.
3. You get to be the calm in their middle school hurricane
Being a non-family caring adult for a child is a really special privilege. At a time when students are often anxious about the future, struggling with additional responsibilities at school, navigating friend drama, and, uh, what’s the nice way to say this… establishing some emotional distance with parents… we get to be a reliably safe and calm space. We don’t replace love and guidance from families—we just get to sprinkle in some supplemental “you matter” energy.
4. They can be hilarious
They may not have the most sophisticated humor, but their silly, awkward jokes (and occasional total misfires) keep us smiling… and occasionally in total stitches.
5. You have an endless supply of funny stories
If you’re teaching middle school, you have no shortage of hilarious stories about middle school antics. The amygdala-fueled choices. The questions you want so bad to laugh at but have to take seriously. Their borderline cruel observations about your fashion choices.
Awkward silence on a date? Emergency subject change at the family Thanksgiving table? Let me just go through my funny teaching stories Rolodex.
6. People bless you … often
Most common responses when I say I’m a middle school teacher? “Bless you.” Either that or, “Why?”
7. Middle school students have limitless optimism
Not yet jaded by the life experience of their older high school counterparts, middle schoolers are primed to dream big and believe big. Obstacles are no match for them. When that means riding their bike over a homemade plywood ramp into their pool, it’s scary. But when it comes to their plans for making the world better, it’s downright inspiring.
8. Your own relationships suddenly seem INCREDIBLY functional by comparison
If you ever needed confirmation that you kind of have your life together, compare it to a middle schooler’s. Did you release a TikTok into the world sobbing about the breakup with your four-day boyfriend? Has your friend group undergone six monumental changes in a single grading period? Did you say your mom is the worst and then twenty minutes later ask tearfully if you could call her from the hallway? No? You’re doing just fine.
9. Middle school teacher solidarity is remarkably solid
Middle school teachers stick together. We all chose the wilderness—and in doing so, chose each other. We know the personal growth it takes to not take an outburst seriously. The PR skills it takes to assure anxious parents that middle school isn’t going to swallow up their baby. The intestinal fortitude it takes to not hurl walking through a cloud of Axe body spray.
We are few, but we are proud.
10. We get to rewrite the middle school experience a lot of us had.
Not every middle school teacher I know had a miserable middle school experience, but we all know that it is commonly a miserable experience. None of us are going back to relive ours (excuse me while I shudder violently), but many of us have the angst, loneliness, and heartache of middle schoolers in mind when we do our jobs.
11. You’re not dealing with the scarier high school stuff yet
Of course, many of the seriously risky behaviors of high school students happening in middle school. It’s just fewer and further between, and, as a result, a little easier to manage. One of those scary things I was glad to have avoided? The whole GPA/college obsession.