Career Story: Education Coordinator For A Wilderness Education Program

Education Coordinator For A Wilderness Education Program

Job Title: Education Coordinator

Type of Company: I work for a company that helps at-risk youth by challenging them with our outdoor therapeutic treatment program. We are an "experiential wilderness education" system, taking the kids back to the basics, helping them to understand their position in society and how to be productive in it.

Education: BA, Elementary Education •• Certified in Special Education

Previous Experience: Out of high school I attended English nanny's school, and worked as a nanny for several years. I then applied for a teacher's assistant position in the public school system. While working in this job, I attended college at night to obtain my bachelor's in Elementary Education. After graduating, I moved into a teaching position working with at-risk youth. During this period, I saw a chance to take one more step up and become the education coordinator.

Job Tasks: As education coordinator, I am responsible for the supervision of all teaching staff and educational support staff (meaning a clerk), making sure everyone is here and performing their appropriate tasks. I am also responsible for ensuring that the North Carolina Standard Course of Study is being followed in all lesson plans, and assessing the progress and modifications that our Special Education students need in order to be successful. I complete educational files of students as they are brought into our camp, reviewing these files making sure the appropriate paperwork is included.

I keep track of students during their stay with us. Grades are submitted to me and I input information into progress notes and report cards. I also meet with parents, court counselors and school administrators to inform them of the progress of particular students. I handle educational discipline, as well as questions about school that the students may have.

State Testing Coordinator is also one of the hats I wear. I have to ensure that each student at our facility is tested and the results are put into their files for future reference. When grade placement issues arise, I am part of a committee that helps to decide where the student in question will be placed.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is being able to positively influence a group of teachers in ways that will affect a student's outlook towards education. If the teachers deliver curriculum in a fun, interesting way, students will pay attention and learn.

The worst part about the job is the amount of stress I have to endure. In this supervisory position, I can't just react to situations the way I want to. I have to take into account that my decisions affect my whole staff, and where it may not be the best outcome for one individual, it may also be the best for the other four.

Job Tips: Definitely take courses on supervisory roles and how to work with difficult people. This may not be the case with your own staff, but it will help you to mentor your staff in interactions with people from different departments. Also, creating a team atmosphere is so important. The students you interact with will feel the support you give one another and learn from it.

Additional Thoughts: I think the one thing that has surprised me most about my occupation has been the number of people who look to me for guidance. In this position, I not only get students and my direct staff, I also see parents, guardians and distant staff occasionally. Being rational and thinking things through is so crucial.

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GCU proudly boasts 60 graduates who have gone on to become Teachers of the Year! Will you be the next?

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