Job Title: Elementary Teacher
Type of Company: I work for a private Catholic school in Durham, North Carolina.
Education: BA, History and English, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill M.Ed., Social Studies Education, North Carolina State University
Previous Experience: I have been teaching for ten years.
Job Tasks: I teach the fifth grade at my school. The subjects I teach daily include math, vocabulary or spelling, grammar, reading, and writing. Three times a week I teach US history in social studies. Once a week, I teach religion. I also am on morning duty at the school as kids arrive for the day. I run a Junior Historians club that meets once a month.
In addition, I serve on several committees at school: the grant committee, the social studies committee, the home school association committee, a principal search committee, the social committee, and the Catholic Schools Week committee.
Other duties include playground supervision during recess and tutoring as needed.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with the students, getting to know them and helping them to learn. There is nothing better than seeing a child's face light up when they finally understand a new concept or have fun reading a novel.
The worst part is managing the huge amount of paperwork. There are papers to grade, papers to complete for students' files, testing paperwork, plus the paperwork to maintain a license and other job-related paperwork.
Job Tips: Have lots of patience, develop good time management skills, and develop good people skills.
Patience helps when dealing with student situations, parent conferences, and sometimes even when dealing with co-workers.
Time management skills are essential. You need to know how much time to allow for teaching certain skills or units, for managing the paper load, for arranging meetings, as well as to ensure time for yourself and your family.
Being friendly and welcoming makes a huge difference whether you're dealing with irate parents, or a crying child, or children in an argument. Being able to make people feel heard really reassures people and makes them feel that you are interested in what they have to say.
Additional Thoughts: I stopped teaching for several years but missed the interactions with students the most. I don't make more money and I have less time for myself, but I wouldn't trade any of that. I love meeting new students every year and having old students return to visit really reinvigorates me. I thrive in an atmosphere of change and flexibility and would not trade the opportunity to work with kids for anything.
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