Job Title: Middle School English Teacher
Type of Company: I work for an independent K-8 day school on Massachusetts' North Shore.
Education: BA, Elementary Education, Michigan State University MS, Ecological Teaching and Learning, Lesley University (Cambridge, MA)
Previous Experience: I completed a one-year teaching internship while at Michigan State University before earning my teaching certificate.
Job Tasks: As a middle school English teacher, I am responsible for planning and implementing curriculum based on my school's requirements for graduation as well as state requirements for the grade levels I teach. To that end, I plan 4-6 writing and reading units each year, each of which includes books to read, essays to write, genres in which to write and mechanics and grammar skills that need to be learned. I then plan out instruction within each unit on a monthly basis, looking at how the class content flows from one week to the next. I have to to set goals to reach with the students and decide what homework will be assigned to help them reach their goals. I must give regular, timely feedback to students in order for them to learn from their work. I give grades on assignments as well as written feedback on their work.
I am also responsible for classroom management and the social well-being of students. We spend time every week discussing how to behave in school and on school-related trips. When students misbehave, I follow through with school guidelines and consequences.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with students. Middle school-aged children can be a challenge, but once you have a positive rapport with them, you can usually have fun and be their teacher at the same time. The excitement they show for learning and succeeding in their day-to-day work is a great reward.
The worst part of the job may be the late nights and weekends spent grading papers and the fact that the job is not left at school but almost always brought home. Between e-mail and phone calls to parents and papers to read and correct, the job never ends. There always is more to do in order to have a better classroom lesson or to be a better teacher.
Job Tips: Try a summer job, such as camp counselor, working with kids in different age groups to see what age level you might like to teach, or to see if you like working with kids at all. Although summer camp is not the same as teaching it will give you a sense of whether or not working with kids is right for you.
If you want to make a lot of money, find another career. Teachers don't get well-paid, but your day-to-day work can be rewarding, and frustrating. Teaching is stressful work and you must love working with kids or you may wind up unhappy with your career decision.
Stay mentally and physically fit by living a healthy lifestyle. This stress management tip will help you in any career you choose. Teachers stay young at heart just by being with kids, but be sure to stay physically active in order to alleviate stress you may feel at work. This will go along way when dealing with kids.
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