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Career Story: Arts And Design Teacher At A Vocational School

Arts And Design Teacher At A Vocational School

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for the Connecticut technical high school system.

Education: BS, Art Education, Rhode Island College •• 30+ graduate-level credits

Previous Experience: I worked in graphic arts after college and for another ten years between my first teaching assignment in Providence and my present long tenure in Connecticut (22 years).

Job Tasks: I teach Career Development Lab, trade-related art and design, digital photography and computer education. I am also the Yearbook advisor and the Ski Club advisor. In a technical high school, my students are on a nine day rotation; each nine days, they switch from academic classes to trade-related classes and back. I also have a few study halls to cover and I sometimes provide coverage for the librarian and the person in charge of in-school suspension. I have a freshman homeroom one cycle and a sophomore homeroom the next. My contractual school day runs from 7:15 A.M. until 2:45 P.M.. When I am not assigned elsewhere I can usually be found in my room with students who need access to computers.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I dislike cafeteria duty and parking lot duty. I do what I do because I like working with young adults. I find it demeaning to be assigned to an area where my responsibility is to keep them from throwing food. The parking lot is another issue. It is an important duty but I have had it for eight years: every school day from 2 to 2:15 or so...rain, shine, freezing cold... I am out there directing traffic. The duty should be assigned to security.

Job Tips: You should learn as much as you can about networking and file management, regardless of what your discipline is. It does not hurt to have a good working knowledge of a spreadsheet program. If you do not like kids or do not consider yourself flexible, choose another career. A sense of humor helps as well.

Additional Thoughts: There is not a lot of immediate gratification in this profession. Students may get accepted into college but that doesn't necessarily guarantee success. It may take ten years before you can see if you you have helped one of your students become a contributing member of society.

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