now, this article from the new york times brings up another related problem: middle school teachers are burning out at a substantially higher rate than their elementary or high school counterparts.
Faced with increasingly well-documented slumps in learning at a critical age, educators in New York and across the nation are struggling to rethink middle school, particularly in cities, where the challenges of adolescent volatility, spiking violence and lagging academic performance are more acute.
As they do so, they are running up against a key problem: a teaching corps marked by high turnover, and often lacking expertise in both subject matter and the topography of the adolescent mind.
and, a bit on the retention issue:
In Philadelphia, researchers found that 34.2 percent of new middle school teachers in one representative year quit after their first year, compared with 21.1 percent of elementary school teachers and 26.3 percent of high school teachers.
i’m sure there are equivilencies in youth ministry. middle school youth workers don’t often last long. it takes a special breed (as the article says of teachers). this is why i would rather be with a group of middle school youth workers than just about any other group of people on earth: they’re my tribe, my homies.
i loved this quote from the article:
“Middle school is like Scotch,” she reflected in the teachers’ lounge one afternoon. “At first you try to get it down. Then you get used to it. Then it’s all you order.”
(ht to steve case)