Career Story: Fourth Grade Teacher In A Public School

Fourth Grade Teacher In A Public School

Job Title: Elementary Teacher

Type of Company: I work in a K-5 elementary school.

Education: BS Elementary Education, Salem State College •• MA Education, Fayetteville State University

Previous Experience: Preschool Teacher Early Childhood Interventionist/Administrator Developmental Therapist Teacher

Job Tasks: I am responsible for a self-contained classroom of students in fourth grade.

The curriculum that is taught covers the academic areas of reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science. The classroom teacher is also responsible for integrating technology standards into the curriculum. We are guided by the Massachusetts State Standards and also the city benchmarks for curriculum delivery.

The typical day involves homework review and early morning assistance for those who require extra guidance. Attendance is taken. Morning work is a combination of computers, writing, and/or mathematics work. Following this comes an hour and fifteen minute math lesson which combines typical whole class mental math lesson, delivery of a whole class lesson, follow-up practice work, challenge work and one on one instruction is also taking place.

The students then have snack and recess which the teacher has to supervise. Lessons in science and/or social studies follow this. The lunch period is monitored by others. The afternoon hours of school involve individual reading group instruction, whole class reading instructional lessons, spelling, grammar, whole class writing lessons, and individual writing conferences along with on most days a 30 minute special such as music, physical education, chorus, or a once a week 60 minute art class. These specials are under the supervision of another teacher.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job include being able to work with children and watch their growth academically, socially, and emotionally during the course of an entire year. Having the autonomy to create exciting interesting ways to deliver instruction. Working with educated, enthusiastic coworkers is wonderful.

The worst part of the job is the amount of other "stuff" the school system gives you to do. The amount of curriculum you have to teach/cover in a year is horrible. Preparing students for the state testing is mind altering for all involved. The lack of time given to adequately prep for lessons, have conferences, meet with colleagues is just getting worse.

Job Tips:
1. Get your required Master's degree before you start full time teaching.

2. Teach in middle school or high school or in a program that limits the number of students in an elementary classroom.

3. Teach in a school system that really supports their teachers. Do your research on this.

4. Get experience with children with behavioral issues, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, Autism or spectrum related concerns, etc.

5. Experience parents

Additional Thoughts: Quetions you need to ask yourself before becoming a teacher:

  • Do you like long hours?
  • Can you afford to be a teacher?
  • Do you love teaching enough to sacrifice your time, more pay, a 401K plan, toys in life, to do this ?
  • Do you find joy in being around children all day for work?
  • Can you find a balance between work and play; professionally and personally. It is important to prevent burn out.
  • Can you find a way, even in desperate times, to look at the glass half full and remain positive. Can you be humble and admit you were wrong? Do you have the patience of a saint?

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