For SLPs, Middle School

Working In a Middle School: Pros and Cons

  1. Debbie says:

    Yes!!! Middle school can be awesome for all the reasons you mentioned. I loved the conversations with them. My middle schoolers felt speech was a safe place and look they at you as someone that doesn’t judge them. Because of that, they were willing to do anything for me. My kids looked at speech time as a special “club” that only they got to come to! Getting out of class was pretty cool in their eyes. Thanks for sharing. Brings back warm memories:).

  2. Ashley v says:

    I’m not an SLP yet (in my 2nd semester of my MS-SLP), but I’ve worked for the past three years as a sped TA in a middle school. I’ve also subbed a bit in an elementary school as a TA, and elementary is not for me! My energy baseline is a bit too low to handle the insane amounts of energy the little ones have! I agree with the pros you have about middle schoolers. I’m not sure if I’ll land in a school or a medical setting in the end, but I love hearing about the middle school side of an SLP!

    • Shannon says:

      What amazing experience you have leading up to grad school! I feel the same way about energy baseline. Good luck with finishing up everything!

  3. New MS Speechie says:

    SO relevant! I have 4th through 8th grade. I’m still learning all the little battles to pick and choose, but all of your “pros” are spot on. I think next year will flow much better for me. What’s the hardest part for you? For me, it’s the attitudes! Or maybe the scheduling times.

    • Shannon says:

      There are SO many little battles to pick – I have to decide to ignore so many every day. I think I’ll feel a lot more comfortable and confident next year too – you’re definitely not alone in that! I think the hardest part for me is learning to be a new kind of “expert”. I feel like I have to constantly be learning to figure out how to best target goals for middle school (that matter) and collaborate better with teachers. My school has a big emphasis on push-in therapy which has been a big learning curve!

      • Angie says:

        My middle schoolers were be so embarrassed if I came into the classroom to work with them. What does your push-in therapy look like? What kinds of therapy activities do you complete in class?

  4. lyonblanc2013 says:

    Shannon, your analysis is so wonderful! If I may say (since knowing you a long time ago), that you always ‘got’ the brain of the middle schooler. You knew this before you knew that you knew it! It’s an amazing age for kids’ growth, and when one is up for the challenges of this age group, the results for the student can be life-long. Thank you for writing this post!

  5. Jessica Lewis says:

    This, all of this, 101% spot on! I took a job in a middle school after needing a break from private practice. I was extremely intimidated at first because my specialty was PreK. Now I’m split between the middle and high school in our district. I think I may love high school even more than my middle school students. Now I can’t even imagine going back to the little ones. Thanks for everything in your post!

  6. Carol says:

    Yes!! I really needed this!!! I’m in a middle school in a Title 1 school and have considered changing back to a younger population, BUT…all the reasons you mentioned make me second guess myself. The kids who often cause the biggest classroom disruption (probably because of the task being difficult or feeling overwhelmed) are typically no problem for me. Students often ask to come extra or even been caught “skipping” electives to be with me (“I was in speech”….& they think that will excuse them)!! I truly love the kids and feel they love their time with me too!! I will say, the eye rolls, refusal, physical fights with peers are no fun at all. Again, thanks for writing this!! It is just the motivation I needed!!

  7. Kathryn says:

    These are all spot on!! It was nice to read a post and comments that I can relate so well to. I’m in my CFY year, working with middle and high schoolers. Before taking this position, my passion was working with preschoolers. I have to say I’m surprised how much I enjoy those “adult conversations” I have with the older students. However, I’m still trying to combat some attitudes!

  8. Julie says:

    I’m full-time in a fairly large high school and I agree 100% with nearly everything you’ve said. I find, however, that it is nearly impossible to work on specific curriculum because I don’t schedule by grade level but by availablility (study hall) which results in mixed grade groups. I’ve commented numerous times that the first 5-10 minutes of every session is more “social work” but that’s how rapport is built and maintained.

  9. Karen says:

    I LOVE working in Middle School! I was in elementary school for 14 years before switching, and would never go back! I see my students mainly through inclusion in their Language Arts class. My articulation, fluency, voice, and a very few language that aren’t in my inclusion classes bring their lunch to my room and we have therapy during their lunch time. That way, they are not missing any class, including electives.The pros and cons mentioned are spot on!

  10. Julia says:

    I was placed in a Middle School 3 years ago along with an elementary school. I wasn’t happy at first but now I love it. I have actually requested to only serve middle school age students for this upcoming year. I love this age and even the attitude :)! This year I plan to push into the classroom more and would love any advice if you care to share. I really enjoyed your blog on the pros and cons.

    • Shannon says:

      That’s great!!! I’ll definitely be posting more about what I do in the classroom this year. Still trying to nail down some things on my end too! It can be tricky!

  11. Hillary says:

    I am in my CFY, and I work with students 3rd grade and up. Since a chunk of my caseload is at the middle school level, do you have any advice, or have you written a post before, about the thought process that you go through when deciding if a student should be dismissed? Do you have advice for how to tell parents that you want to dismiss, when they still want their child to receive services?

    • Shannon says:

      Such a great question!! I will add this to my blog post ideas list and hopefully share out more in the future!! Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. Myra says:

    Iā€™m switching to a position that includes all the alternative schools in my district. I will be with elementary, middle, and high schoolers who have intensive behavior needs. Iā€™m most anxious about the middle schoolers. I needed to read this. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kiernan Osgood says:

    Thank you so much for this. The past 14 years I have worked in an elementary school and recently made the switch to a new school district and took the leap in the middle school. I am excited and nervous at the switch but this just put me at easy and I know that I made the right decision. Can’t wait for the new school year!

  14. Shannon says:

    I need help!!! I am transitioning from adults with developmental disabilities to a middle school!! I have come home this past month feeling defeated and discouraged everyday:( I am having a really hard time figuring out how to structure my therapy sessions, take the data, and finding materials that capture their attention and focus on their curriculum goals

  15. Shelia says:

    I’m doing high school and scheduling is very hard. You mentioned that you do lots of minutes “in-class”. Can you share more about that, such as what that looks like?

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