Career Story: Sixth Grade Ancient History Teacher

Sixth Grade Ancient History Teacher

Job Title: Teacher

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

Education: BS, Health Policy Management, Providence College •• MA, Elementary Education and History (Grades 5-8), Cambridge College

Previous Experience: I actually did a complete career change. I was working as a supervisor at Tufts Health Plan (working in the Healthy Care Administration for several years) and then went back and got my masters in education.

Job Tasks: My job is primarily to teach sixth grade students Ancient Civilization starting with the Beginning of Man up to the Fall of Rome. I am also responsible for managing a classroom and helping students adjust to the purgatory of middle school.

When students enter in September I spend the first few weeks introducing them to the middle school rules and regulations as well as my own classroom or team rules and regulations. We pass out books, schedules, locks, lockers, supplies, etc. This is very important and can be very challenging for sixth grade students who are used to being in an elementary school, are meeting a lot of new students, some of whom have never seen a combination lock.

As the year goes by I work with students on organization -- a key component to success in middle school and high school-- and then teach them about human pre-history, our agricultural beginnings and Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome.

We work on different skills and try to tie in other subjects so they can make correlations between subjects. I also test them in several different ways so each student can excel based on what their strong skill sets are.

At the end of the year, we work on making sure the students have been "let go" and given more responsibility so that they are ready to make the adjustment into seventh grade.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are meeting different students and seeing the wonderful diversity of all the kids. I also love when a student who has never really done well in school does well on a project or test. Seeing his smile is priceless.

The worst part of my job is dealing with uncooperative parents who blame teachers for things that are beyond our control (a student, for example, who never does homework and does poorly because of it). It's also sad to see several students who don't have the support at home. And many times it's no one's fault. The parents are working to try to make ends meet.

Job Tips:
1. Always respect veteran teachers and go to them as often as needed for advice! Never be afraid to ask for help...even if you've been there for years. Everyone needs help.

2. Try not to overreact when you have a sticky situation. Try to find out the facts before you start disciplining and try to do it calmly.

3. BE ORGANIZED!! The more organized you are, the more organized your students are. Start the class off with a "Bell Ringer" on the board so that students have some small activity like a quick worksheet to do as soon as they get in the class. Have folders behind your desk for anyone who missed work.

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