I Went From Teaching High School to Middle School. Here’s What I Noticed.

Cindy Shapiro
Teachers on Fire Magazine
6 min readSep 30, 2023

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

First, let me acknowledge something that must be said: All teaching consists of tiring, challenging work, no matter what level you work at. But high school is easier. Think I’m wrong? Wonder why I think so? I know so.

I began my career bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the age of 21. I was teaching at a high school in South Florida with a course load of 11th grade English, Intensive Reading, and Creative Writing. It was a lot. And yet — somehow I still managed to be able to get a decent night’s sleep. I went home at a somewhat reasonable hour (before sunset), and crept into the parking lot the next morning after the sun was already up. I didn’t have any kids or a husband back then, so my time was my own. And while I got some pushback from students from time to time, for the most part, I would tell them what to do, and they would do it.

I moved on to another high school, and the same pattern emerged. A lot of work to plan and grade, yes, but during class it wasn’t strenuous or taxing — it was actually pretty fun, most days.

I taught at a few other high schools, and while all had unique characteristics, and some were more challenging than others, it was all mostly okay to good.

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Cindy Shapiro
Teachers on Fire Magazine

Cindy Shapiro is long-time teacher living in Colorado. As a writer, she aims to elevate teachers’ voices and provide insight on issues in education.