Job Title: Teacher
Type of Company: I work for a school district about 30 miles outside of Boston.
Education: BA and MA, Salem State College
Previous Experience: I worked as a sales rep for fifteen years before becoming a teacher.
Job Tasks: I help children who have difficulty with phonics learn the sounds of letters so that they can improve in reading and spelling. Each day I work with individuals or small groups for about 40 minutes. Typically, I see the same groups each day. The program I teach is called the Wilson Reading Program, a very structured, multi-sensory phonics program. This program includes twelve distinct segments that cover both reading and spelling tasks. It employs various props including letter tiles with vowels in orange, word cards, children's work books, and forms to assess the students in their progress. The program starts in book one with teaching children consonant-vowel-consonant words such as "nap" or "dad." Then it introduces digraphs (ch, sh, qu, th, wh) so children can read and spell words such as "chat" or "shock." In book two, students learn welded sounds (ink, unk ang, etc.) and blends. Book three still deals with closed syllable words but teaches kids how to divide the words into syllables. It is important for students to have mastered each group before continuing to the next. All the material is designed so that students practice only the skills they have been taught. I do spend at least one day each week having the children read non-controlled text so that I can help them apply the skills they have learned to more normal reading experiences. In addition to my classroom work, I need to write goals and objectives and attend team meeting on all the students I see. I also write quarterly reports on their progress. Because I am a special education teacher also, I am called upon to test students for initial and three year evaluations from time to time.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that you often work with the same students for several years and really get to know them. It is also satisfying to see the progress they make on the road from non-reader to a student who can read.
The worst part of the job are all the meetings that I need to attend and the reports I have to write. Sometimes it feels as if that part of the job takes way too much time and distracts from my actual teaching.
Job Tips: I would advise someone seeking the same job to begin with special education training and then, after you get a job, decide what parts of it you like. Based on this evaluation, you can make a decision to get more training in the areas that you would enjoy and that are needed in your school district.
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