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Career Story: AP Physics Teacher In A Suburban School

AP Physics Teacher In A Suburban School

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in a suburb of Albany, New York.

Education: BS, Physics, Union College •• University at Albany •• MST, Science Education, SUNY-Plattsburgh

Previous Experience: I worked as a college lacrosse coach for two years while pursuing a Master's degree in teaching. I then took a job teaching science in Greenville, NY before coming to the school where I currently work.

Job Tasks: I am an honors and Advanced Placement Physics teacher in an affluent suburban school district. I teach four classes a day. A science class is taught using "block scheduling," which means that I will meet with my class for 80 minutes one day, and 40 minutes the next. The increased contact time allows science teachers to expose the students to a variety of laboratory experiments that take an extended amount of time.

On a typical day students will spend 20 to 30 minutes in a direct instruction setting, or lecture, and the remaining time working on experiments or participating in demonstrations. Honors physics contains study in five main areas of the discipline. The AP course follows the College Board recommendations for a first year calculus-based college physics course. The students in my classes are very talented and motivated, so the challenge is to engage them with lessons and activities that are pitched to appeal to them.

I am also a boy's lacrosse coach for the school district. In New York state, boy's lacrosse is a spring sport. The season typically starts in early March and ends in the middle of June.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with talented, motivated, and hard-working students. Each day I am challenged with interesting questions and problems. Every class is different and each student is unique in some way. I have never felt bored at work.

The worst part of my job is grading tests and assignments. As a teacher your job is never completed at work. It is typical to spend several hours a week at home grading tests and assignments.

Job Tips:
1. Be prepared for each class. Students will respect a teacher that they feel is well-prepared.

2. Be confident in your content background.

3. Be consistent with your classroom management. Students need expectations of behavior. You do not need to be "strict", just consistent.

4. Develop a system for grading that is both efficient and meaningful.

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