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Career Story: Algebra Teacher At A Suburban High School

Algebra Teacher At A Suburban High School

Job Title: Math Teacher

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

Education: BS, Mathematics, University of Connecticut •• MA, Education, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I worked three years as a full-time math teacher at a high school, then worked part-time at a community college for another six. I returned to teaching at the high school level about three years ago.

Job Tasks: High school teachers have to have a solid mastery of the material they teach. I teach five classes a day to 130 students of varying abilities, covering three different content areas: Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Pre-calculus. I plan lessons that involve technology and the textbook curriculum.

You need to have every minute planned or high school students will get rowdy. You need to be able to bring in real-life problems to motivate and drive the students to learn. You need to understand and be able to use the graphing calculator and geometry sketchpad. You have to correct papers, contact parents and collaborate with your peers. Also, you need to make sure that all students are provided with an appropriate, equal education, which means -- among other things -- always being aware of the Individualized Educational Plans for each student and making sure you attend the appropriate meetings. The hours are not just during the school day, you will take work home.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is teaching kids. If you are energetic and prepared, students will be attentive, respectful and a lot of fun. Summers off is the next best part.

The worst part of the job is the lack of respect from the community, lack of increases in pay, and the fact that you always have to take work home with you. There is not enough time in the day to get your work done. Summers off are great but if teachers did not have that time to recoup and re-energize, they would not be effective teachers.

Job Tips: You need to understand that the majority of your learning is going to take place when you start teaching and actually have your own classroom, which means that you will be very busy and will not have a life your first year. With a good mentor and support system, you will make it through and it does get better!! Ask questions and observe and take advice from master teachers. Ask for their resources and guidance.

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