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Career Story: Middle School Science Teacher And Administrator

Middle School Science Teacher And Administrator

Job Title: Teacher/Department Head

Type of Company: I work for a school district in Massachusetts.

Education: BS, Elementary Education •• M.Ed., Secondary Science Education •• CAGS, Leadership and Management

Previous Experience: I worked in retail while I was in college and for a few years part-time, because my teaching salary was very low.

Job Tasks: I am a middle school teacher of eighth graders. My subject area is Science which I have taught from grade 4 to grade 9 over a period of 32 years. I have taught General Science, Earth Science, Life Science and Physical Science. At the moment, I teach Physical Science. I am also the head of my department with responsibilities across grades 6-12 and jurisdiction over the activities of a staff of ten.

My day starts early at 7AM and lasts until 2:35, at least in theory, though most days I'm at school until 4PM. My duties involve planning for classes, teaching lessons, grading, maintaining contact with parents, monitoring students at various times, working with staff and administration, running meetings, serving on committees and more. There is really no typical day. Many evenings during the week require time to be given over to finishing that day's tasks and/or getting ready for the next day.

Even during the summer some weeks are spent in school, taking classes to maintain my various certifications. I have also run summer school programs for my district.

My career has been both challenging and rewarding, often at the same time. I am happy with my career choice and believe that I continue to be a positive member of my faculty and a successful teacher. I was pleased when my daughter followed me into teaching as I believe that it's an important job as well as one that we both do very well.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is knowing that what I do makes a difference.

The worst part is dealing with students who don't want to learn, parents who think their children can do no wrong and who fail to hold their sons and daughters accountable.

Job Tips: Become a master of your subject matter. Learn classroom management from a skilled mentor teacher. Be prepared to work very hard.

Additional Thoughts: People are always interested in what I do. I once took the train from Boston to Philadelphia and sat in the dining car correcting papers for the entire trip. I was never alone; I always had the company of people who wanted to talk -- about their memories of school, favorite teachers, their own children's experiences, about the current state of education, etc. No one wanted to help correct the papers, however! Next trip I'm bringing extra red pens!

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