Career Story: Early Elementary School Science Teacher

Early Elementary School Science Teacher

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for the Wake County, North Carolina school system.

Education: BA, Education •• BA, History

Previous Experience: I taught Kindergarten in Charlotte for two years, then in Wake for four more years. I changed schools and taught first grade for a year and have now Science Lab for the last three.

Job Tasks: I am a kindergarten through fifth grade science specialist. I see about six classes each day at 40 minutes each. I work with each grade level, helping teach the science curriculum. The students tend to do more hands-on, experiential science in the lab with me. I help the students use science notebooks and also provide training to the regular classroom teachers on how to do the science notebook.

I have also worked with grade levels on their science curriculum. I meet with them and work on how we can fit the science content into the projects that they do at the end of the quarter. I have also planned science-themed field trips for some grades. I help maintain the school nature trail (which the students often use with me) and organize one or two Saturdays during the year when parents come and help clean the trail. Along with the nature trail, I work with the second grade on planting a community vegetable garden.

I also coordinate all the science kits that the regular teachers use in their classroom to teach science. This means that I order replacement parts and obtain animals that are needed to teach the kit.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with the students helping them discover the natural world: helping a kindergarten group, for example, to recognize a cardinal or a robin by their song.

The worst part of the job is having to track down teachers who have not turned in information or have not completed a task.

Job Tips: I would advise anyone going into teaching to spend as much time in a classroom beforehand as they can. I would even suggest that you become a teacher' assistant for a year before deciding to go into this field. This will give you a real glimpse into teaching. I would also suggest sticking it out for at least four years. After your fourth year of teaching, it gets so much easier. You know how to read the students better, you have learned to tweak lessons.

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