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Career Story: Spanish Teacher At A Parochial School

Spanish Teacher At A Parochial School

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: A combined elementary and middle school (K-8).

Education: BA, Spanish/French, Boston College •• MA, Spanish Language and Literature, Boston College

Previous Experience: I worked as a language instructor right out of college, first in Massachusetts and later in Germany with the University of Maryland. I also worked in England as a teacher's aide in a pre-school for handicapped kids.

Job Tasks: I now teach Spanish to grades 1-8 in a parochial school. I prepare lessons, administer assessments and teach grammar and culture. I also work on the diocesan foreign language committee. It is very interesting work: developing a curriculum and collaborating with other language professionals.

But I have other more mundane duties too. I serve as a recess monitor, do faculty room upkeep and have to be around for "extra help" sessions at the end of the day. There are fun projects too, now and then, projects that the teachers come up with that are meant to benefit the entire school: spelling bees, geography bees, "It's Academic" or the yearbook.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love the children. But the class material is interesting too and I am always learning something. It keeps me in touch with the Spanish-speaking community and allows me to maintain my mastery of the language. Parents are great sources of information and I love learning from them. But the work load is heavy and, with correcting and planning, the after-school hours are surprisingly long.

Job Tips: Take a classroom management course. Become certified in English as a second language. Collaborate with other teachers in the school. Learning from experienced teachers can help you tremendously. Engage the parents in the learning process. They love the classroom and will lend their support to your efforts.

Additional Thoughts: You need to be patient and caring but firm and outspoken in your objectives. A teacher has to establish clear expectations for her students in order to persuade them to succeed. They should not be forced to guess what you want from them. Still, you need to temper your firmness with a generosity of spirit that your kids will respond to.

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