How to: Teach 9th Grade

The phrase that got me hired?  “Oh, I LOVE 9th grade!”

Which is true.

But it takes a really special type of person to teach 9th grade (or so I’ve been told).

Why do I love 9th graders?  Well, they’re finally coming into their own.  They’re not sure whether they’re a high schooler or a middle schooler.  They’re just starting to get real responsibilities (like driving).  And, they’re developing their personalities.  Ninth grade is a really special time for them.  And I get to be a positive part of it (or at least I try to be).


When I first started, I didn’t even have a decade on my students.  I was just 9 years older than they were.  And my first year was tumultuous, to say the least.  Actually, let’s not even go there.  As I accepted the small age gap between myself (the adult in the room) and my students, my classroom management style changed drastically.  I realized that my students saw me as a big-sister role rather than a real-adult role.  So, instead of being a huge nag, I started trying to be funny.   I let out my inner dork and got more comfortable being so.  I am a natural smart-aleck.  This helps immensely.  I also learned how to dress myself (thanks Pinterest!) and have gotten a little more respect that way (am not kidding here).


So, how do you teach 9th graders effectively?

  • Have a sense of humor.
  • Be patient.
  • Give lots of friendly reminders.
  • Have boundaries.
  • Set high, but reasonable, expectations – they will meet them.
  • Be excited about your content area.
  • Understand that the content will be hard for (some of) them.
  • Checklists, checklists, checklists!

And the most important thing – truly care about your student’s wellbeing.


4 thoughts on “How to: Teach 9th Grade

  1. Some of my 9th grade teachers were crazy. I am considering becoming a teacher, and I am not sure if I would do middle school or high school. I think they both have advantages and disadvantages! We’ll see 🙂

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