Middle Level Education: What to Expect
Since its inception, the Middle Level Education degree program at the University of South Carolina has received “National Recognition” from the National Middle School Association. As a Middle Level Education major, you will be exposed to challenging coursework, outstanding professors and hands-on field experiences. All courses within the professional program are designed specifically for those who have an interest in teaching young adolescents, in grades 5-8. As a Middle Level Education student, you will be able to benefit from the Professional Development School sites that provide opportunities for teacher candidates to observe, experience, and apply best teaching practices that they learn about in their coursework. The courses and field based experiences will provide you with sufficiently deep preparation in two content areas; awareness of and experiences in equity and diversity issues; development of classroom management skills; a thorough understanding of middle school principles; and a variety of opportunities to work with middle level students. In the classroom, you can expect a variety of instruction practices including whole class discussions, hands-on engagement, inquiry based learning small group activities, micro lectures, working one-on-one with young adolescents, and role playing. You can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science with a major in Middle Level Education.
The following courses fulfill the education core for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science with a major in Middle Level Education:
- Classroom Inquiry with Technology
- Learning Through Community Service
- Schools In Communities
- Learners and the Diversity of Learning
- Practicum: Learners and the Diversity of Learning
- Introduction to Classroom Assessment
- Introduction to Exceptional Children
On average, there is a 12 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Enhancing your Experience
Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Website for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Middle Level Education major, you may be interested in joining Kappa Delta Pi, Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA), South Carolina Educators Association (SCEA). SCEA and PSTA are two state organizations that support their members by offering professional liability insurance, PRAXIS workshops, website access, periodicals, and a statewide network of members. Kappa Delta Pi is a national educational honors society that provides access to the website, conference opportunities, publications, online assistance, and a campus network for social services. Finally, you may wish to join the Future Educators Association, which offers students the opportunity to build community with other future teachers, participate in fundraisers for educational purposes, and provide multiple services to the community. You can also find other student organizations on campus that interest you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Graduates tend to pursue a graduate degree related to classroom teaching, counseling, or administration. Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding students. The College of Education offers more than 30 scholarships each year for education majors.
Internship and Research Opportunities
Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.
Middle Level Education students often have the opportunity to work with students as early as their first or second semester at USC. Teacher candidates get additional exposure to the middle school classroom setting during a technology/inquiry and a writing course. During the fall of your senior year, you will complete 7-10 hours per week in a middle school setting and during the spring, you will complete a minimum of 60 days full time teaching with a minimum of ten days independently teaching a full load.
Graduates typically pursue a middle level teaching position, while many begin working toward a M.Ed. degree. Within the first five years after graduation, Middle Level Education majors typically earn a salary of $37,000 to $43,000.
Rashida Brown’s experience teaching in the classroom dates back to when she was a teenager. She worked in a special education summer school program as a teacher’s assistant while she was in high school. It was this experience that helped her discover her passion for education and working with children. Rashida graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Level Education and a Masters of Education in Language and Literacy. She currently teaches at Kelly Middle School in Columbia, S.C. Rashida has had the opportunity to teach in an Integrating Technology to Enhance Curriculum (ITEC) classroom. The student to computer ratio is 1 to 1. This provides Rashida with the unique opportunity to integrate technology into every class. For Rashida, one of the most exciting parts of her job is seeing the impact that she has on the students. “The connections I am able to make with the students are what makes my job worthwhile,” she said. One connection that she specifically remembers was helping a student who did not like to read become hooked on a series. “During the summer, I ran into her mom, who told me she couldn’t put the book down,” Rashida said about her student. “She had finished the second book, and was anxiously waiting for the third book to come out so she could read that one too.” The University of South Carolina helped prepare Rashida for her career by providing both content knowledge and methodology. While at Carolina, she took content area classes, education classes, and method classes. She also pursued practicum experiences and worked as a student teacher for a year. Rashida offers advice for current students pursuing a career in teaching. “Make the most out of all the experience you have at the University,” she said. “The practicums and student teaching are just a taste of life as a teacher. When you start your real job, all of those experiences will come together to make you a better teacher.”
About the College of Education
The College of Education prepares students for professional careers as educators or athletic trainers through focused studies and extensive field experiences in personal settings. The College offers five majors including Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, Physical Education, and Athletic Training. The College also offers Masters in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Early Childhood Education, Language and Literacy, and Teaching. Doctoral degree programs in Early Childhood Education, Language and Literacy, and Teaching and Learning, and curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in curriculum studies are also offered. All undergraduate programs emphasize putting theory, methods, and skills into practice in real professional settings. Students are also exposed to extensive fieldwork in schools throughout the program for those seeking teacher certification and in athletic training settings for those enrolled in the athletic training program.
Points of Pride
- All teacher preparation programs in the College of Education are fully accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teach Education (NCATE).
- The Athletic Training program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).