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Career Story: Teacher In A School For Spanish-Speaking Bilingual Children

Teacher In A School For Spanish-Speaking Bilingual Children

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a Montessori school and in a public school in Framingham.

Education: B.A., Spanish Language & Literature, Wesleyan University •• M. Ed., Elementary Education, Lesley University

Previous Experience: I have taught in public and private schools since 1992. I currently teach Spanish at a Montessori school and in the 4th grade of a two-way bilingual program in Framingham.

Job Tasks: At the Montessori school, I teach Spanish to children aged 3 to 10. I have been at the school for 10 years and have written the curriculum, made most of the materials and collaborated with the classroom teachers to connect my lessons to what is done in the classroom. I see the children one or two times a week. Some examples of what we do in the preschool and kindergarten are: sing songs, read stories, play games, color, cut and paste. In the elementary school we learn about the Spanish alphabet, parts of speech (adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc.) and simple vocabulary centering on places in the community, objects in the school and home, etc.

At the public school in Framingham, I teach 4th grade. The program is called "Two-Way Bilingual" because the children learn in both English and Spanish. I teach on the Spanish side and have what's known as a "job share." My partner teaches math and reading in the morning, and I teach writing and science in the afternoon. All the classes are in Spanish. We have two groups of students, and each group spends a week with us learning in Spanish and then spends the following week with another teacher learning in English.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love both of my jobs! The best part is getting to work with children, and watching them learn and grow. It is so satisfying at the Montessori school to work with the children from age 3 through 3rd grade. At the Framingham school I have wonderful colleagues and I learn a lot from them. We also have excellent professional development; the system offers lots of courses and workshops for teachers to learn new techniques and ideas.

The part I like least about teaching is the paperwork that goes along with it, especially in the public schools. There is a lot of administrative work that takes up time that I'd rather spending with kids.

Job Tips: Start the year off right: focus on classroom procedures and expectations before you get into academics! Be prepared to work a lot of hours at home. Get involved in the school community; join a committee on the PTO or offer workshops to parents about testing, summer activities etc. Always continue to learn; take classes, do cooperative activities with other teachers and their students and read, read, read!

Additional Thoughts: The most important qualities for success in teaching are open-mindedness, the ability to think on your feet (and change your plans at a moment's notice!), and the desire to work with and for others. If you like collaborating and trying new things, teaching is a constant challenge and opportunity for growth.

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