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Career Story: First Grade Teacher In A Public School

First Grade Teacher In A Public School

Job Title: Classroom Teacher

Type of Company: I work in a school district that is a suburb of Boston.

Education: Masters of Education, Harvard University

Previous Experience: I was an associate at a private Quaker school in Delaware. Then I went to school in Boston and then got a job teaching in my current school district.

Job Tasks: I am a first grade teacher responsible for 22 students. I have three inclusion students and five additional students who receive additional supports such as speech, occupational therapy, and English language support. I teach English language arts (which includes writing, phonics, and reading), math, social studies, science, handwriting, and Open Circle (a social competency program). I also incorporate some Responsive Classroom techniques in my class. I have an aide who is there to support the inclusion students.

A typical day involves greeting the students as they walk in, providing morning work, and checking to see what information has come from home (notes and homework). We have a morning meeting during which we try to build community. The morning consists of math, snack, outside time, a special (PE, Art, Library, and Music), and language arts. After lunch, we generally have Writers' Workshop and Science or Social Studies.

In addition to these daily curriculum responsibilities, I meet with families two times a year, write progress reports two times a year and write reports for students on individualized education plans. I also meet with grade level colleagues and other specialists (speech, occupational therapists, inclusion facilitator, learning center teachers, math coach), attend faculty meetings once a month, and attend professional workshops and conferences.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with students and seeing them grow and learn every day. Even though you may teach the same grade year after year, the students are always new and so their needs and responses to the curriculum differs from year to year.

The worst part of the job is the increased demand on the teachers and the students. The district I work for has extremely high standards for students - even higher than the state standards. If a student is not meeting the benchmarks, the responsibility falls on the teacher to provide extra support within the school day. When you have over 20 students in class, that makes it difficult. This district also demands differentiated instruction for each student which again is difficult as the support and preparation time we have diminishes each year.

Job Tips:
1. You obviously cannot go into this job for the money.

2. Think about if you want to work 10-12 hours a day in the first five years of your career. This job is very rewarding but sometimes the demands can be too much. If you think that teaching is a great job for having a family, think again and think carefully.

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