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Career Story: Elementary School Math Teacher

Elementary School Math Teacher

Job Title: Elementary School Math Teacher

Type of Company: I work for the public school system in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Education: BA, Education, Ohio State University •• Masters, Educational Counseling, East Carolina University

Previous Experience: I am now a math teacher for at-risk children, but have had 8-9 years of teaching in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms

Job Tasks: I teach math to small groups of 4-6 children in grades 2-6. All children have failed the end-of-grade tests at the end of the previous year.

I have to determine where they are grade level-wise in skills and create lessons for them that will bring them up to grade level. Most of these children need concrete math, which means that I use manipulatives and basic concrete examples for almost every concept taught.

A lot of my time is spent creating lesson plans for each specific skill and trying to coordinate the teaching of it to the same time that the classroom teacher is teaching the same concepts. I try to find materials which the teachers are not using so that my examples and exercises are not exact copies of the work they are doing.

I use many resources to find materials for my children so I am constantly checking websites and old textbooks for material and examples.

My schedule is 6-8 classes a day from most grade levels with 45 minutes of planning per day. There are no grade cards and no parent conferences unless requested by the classroom teacher.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Preparing lesson plans for as many as four different grades every day and finding materials to use is the worst part of my job. Also, I have to keep meticulous records about what I do everyday in each class because it becomes so confusing teaching so many different grades and sometimes I'm teaching the same concept to several grades but at different levels.

Working in a school keeps you current in the world, and children can be so much fun. They give you something to laugh about almost everyday. That's the best part of my job.

Job Tips: Do not become a teacher for the money, and keep in mind that there are hours and hours of work to take home daily and on the weekend. There is more stress than one can imagine. Always talk to your peers and welcome their advice. I have learned more from other teachers than from any workshop.

Additional Thoughts: Where else can you work, and no one says a word or looks twice when a staff member walks into a meeting dressed like Snow White or Darth Vader.

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