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Career Story: Pre-School Teacher In The Suburbs

Pre-School Teacher In The Suburbs

Job Title: Preschool Teacher

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

Education: MA, Education

Previous Experience: I babysat and worked in childcare centers with infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. Later I taught first and second grade before moving to pre-school.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for helping 3-, 4-, and 5-year olds develop mentally, physically, and emotionally. I give them directions and watch to see that they follow them. If they are not able to follow directions -- "hang up your jacket and come to the table," for example -- it is my responsibility to help them. I have to be careful not to do all the work for them because they won't learn to do things for themselves. I plan lessons so I can be sure that there are enough activities for the children to learn about rhyming, making patterns, counting to ten, etc. I am responsible for talking with parents and letting them know how their children are doing and what we are working on. I need to assess children twice a year and let parents know what their children can count to, if their children can talk about a story I read, and if their children can take care of their jackets and backpacks at school. I need to be sure that the children eat snacks and lunch, use the bathroom, and have rest time. I need to help the children clean up their materials such as blocks and markers. Children do not know how to clean up and they often do not want to clean up, so it is my job to make it fun and encourage them while showing them how to clean up.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best thing about my job is seeing children grow. In September many of them can only sit and listen for about ten minutes and many of them cannot do a lot of things without help. By June, most children are able to sit for about a half hour to listen to stories. The children are also able to tell the date and day on the calendar and open and clean up their snacks. They are also able to pump their legs on swings so they do not need to wait for teachers to push them.

The worst part of my job is all the paperwork.

Job Tips: Time management and the ability to prioritize tasks are very important. You could work on teaching children, planning lessons, and developing appropriate activities and environments all day, every day and still find things that are not getting done. You also need to have a lot of patience. Children cannot be hurried when learning. Get as much time with children of different ages as you can early on so you can focus on the best age group for you in college.

Additional Thoughts: This job continues to get harder with more demands being put on teachers every year. It is a tough job and we don't get summers off as people think because we have to continue to take classes to stay current with best practices.

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