Career Story: Middle School Teacher

Middle School Teacher

Job Title: Middle School Teacher

Type of Company: I worked for a school district in North Carolina.

Education: BS, Deaf Education, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Previous Experience: I taught for eleven years in public schools' hearing-impaired programs before changing to a state school for the deaf. My last position was in a public middle school.

Job Tasks: As a middle school teacher I have to prepare weekly lessons for three one-and-a-half hour classes. This includes goals, teacher input, materials, student activities and assessments. Lessons must include a variety of inputs and experiences for multi-sensory learning: listening, writing, music, art, etc. Every week I have to attend an all-school staff meeting after school hours. Also weekly there are team meetings at my grade level to coordinate learning and topics. Throughout the year personal education plans must be written and updated for low performing students. This includes contacts with parents and students. Every three weeks progress reports go home and every nine weeks reports cards are prepared. Word walls in the room are continually updated with vocabulary we have studied and reviewed. Tests and worksheets must be made up or researched and copied. Maintaining discipline -- imposing and enforcing rules with consequences and rewards -- is an every class activity. Collaborating with other teachers is important. After-school tutoring is also made available as well as after school detention.

Monthly after-school workshops are attended in my area of teaching. We study new ideas and materials and share things that work and don't work.

I do have 1 1/2 hours planning time per day but often it is not my own time. It must be shared with other staff and meetings. Often school work is carried home and takes up hours in the evenings.

Hall duty and bus duty are expected daily.

There is daily lunch duty of about 25 minutes.

There is little time for bathroom breaks except during planning time, unless during an emergency, when a nearby teacher can listen out for the class.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are working with the students, the variety and the surprises that happen daily.

The worst part is lack of interest and motivation on the students' part.

Job Tips:
1. Love kids and be ready for anything.

2. Be able to work alone and with others and give and take while collaborating.

3. Don't worry about what others are doing or not doing. Just do your best and get help if and when needed.

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