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Career Story: Seventh Grade Science Teacher In A Mid-Atlantic City

Seventh Grade Science Teacher In A Mid-Atlantic City

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Education: BA, Anthropology, James Madison University •• MS, Anthropology, University of Oregon •• Teaching certificate, University of Oregon

Previous Experience: I taught in many different capacities... at a church pre-school, volunteering at a prison, volunteering at schools and subbing.

Job Tasks: I teach science to seventh graders at a middle school. I plan curriculum, teach it, assess it and adjust it based on the results. This year I have taught weather and the atmosphere, genetics, the human body, and am currently teaching force and motion. I call parents and talk about their students' academic performance or behavior. For example, I just spent a few minutes emailing parents a weekly list of assignments and tips for upcoming testing, and emailed a few to compliment them on their students' recent behavior.

I meet with other teachers, counselors and administrators when necessary. Today, I met with a crisis team to respond to a threatening note a student had written. We had to decide what kind of threat this student was to herself and others and make a recommendation about a punishment. I also met with my other team members to decide what awards we would give out at the end of the year and to discuss the zillion rules surrounding the standardized tests that we have to give the students next week. I brought home an 80 page testing manual that I have to read over this weekend.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is working with the kids, being able to nurture them and guide them towards being a good grown-up. I also love planning (and having) the summers off!

The worst part is the pay, lack of support in general, and having to scrounge around for money all the time. Also, I don't like the inflexibility of the scheduling...can't ever do any "flex hours" or anything like that.

Job Tips:
1.) Work for a school district that has a union. You'll get so much more support.

2.) Sub, volunteer... just get into classrooms and learn about what grade you would like to teach.

3.) The more life experience you have before you start teaching, the better off you will be. You can work with so many more different kinds of people if you've had varied experiences.

4.) The weekly email to parents detailing upcoming assignments (and attaching them if possible), asking for help and materials, and covering class-related issues has been the easiest and most beneficial communication tool I have ever used.

Additional Thoughts: If I could change one thing, I would have married richer so that I could have all the money I need for my classroom!!!

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