Career Story: Music And Drama Teacher At A Pre-School

Music And Drama Teacher At A Pre-School

Job Title: Pre-School Teacher

Type of Company: A non-profit community arts school.

Education: BA, English, College of Charleston

Previous Experience: I worked for a credit rating agency from 1975 until 1987. I've been a preschool teacher ever since.

Job Tasks: I teach three-, four-, and five-year olds in an arts-based format. I personally teach drama and music, and in the summer camps I teach Learning Lab, which is a cooking and science class. We have a nine-month school year, with morning and afternoon pre-school sessions, as well as a summer camp program.

A class consists of fourteen children, with an assistant and a teacher. The children change classes during the day, and will come to my class when it's their time for Drama/Music. We read books then often act them out. We sing lots of songs and move around to the music. We have a "line leader", who gets to bring something to show the class. He lets the children ask him questions and he answers them. He also leads the class in the calendar and the weather song.

The children arrive at 8:45 and I usually help greet them and make sure they put their cups away and choose which center they want to attend. At 9:15, I go upstairs and my first class comes in. I have a break, during which I set out their snacks on the tables in two rooms. After snack, I help supervise outside play, then I have one more class. Morning pre-school dismisses at noon, unless the children choose to stay for "lunch bunch".

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is spending time with the adorable children. They tell the best stories!

The worst is trying to keep their attention. At this age, it's hard for them to sit still and pay attention for very long.

Job Tips:
1.) Use common sense and put yourself in the child's (and parents') shoes.

2.) Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan.

3.) Get down on the child's level when possible and don't be afraid to be silly.

Additional Thoughts: I never planned to be a pre-school teacher; I wanted to be a lawyer. I get such satisfaction from this job, though, especially when I go to the grocery store or park and see a student and his face just lights up. It's so much fun to see them years later and see how much they've changed. They rarely remember me after the age of nine, but I remember every one of my students.

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