Career Story: English Teacher At A Vocational High School

English Teacher At A Vocational High School

Job Title: High School English Teacher

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

Education: BA, English, Eastern Connecticut State University •• MS, Secondary Education, Eastern Connecticut State University •• Sixth-year in administration/supervision, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I had factory jobs while in college, but this is my only profession.

Job Tasks: I am a high school English teacher who is responsible for instituting state policy and curriculum for grades 11 and 12. I am directly responsible for bring to fruition five learning goals for the year, including describing, interpreting, and evaluating classical and contemporary fictional texts of many cultures in order to construct meaning, extend understanding, and demonstrate appreciation. I must introduce and incorporate non-fiction in order to supplement the fiction, while interpreting and evaluating, also, in constructing meaning. I must get students to produce written texts in a variety of modes, appropriate to task, audience, and purpose. I also teach students how to employ various research skills, and how to communicate effectively in creative and critical formats, using various media. The essential questions that we cover, for example, are why do we study literature, and how does literature shape our understanding of the world and our place in it? Why do we read informational text, and why must we learn to distinguish the presence of stereotypes, biases, and propaganda in media? Why do we learn to write in a variety of forms, and how can we become better writers? How can we add depth to our research process, and why do we use MLA documentation. Finally, how can we communicate more effectively?

Or in plain English, I teach people to write better and to understand and appreciate what they read.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The absolute best part of the job is the students themselves. Working around energetic and promising high school students is great. They are current and informed and bright.

The worst part of the job is the heavy work load, mostly correcting papers.

Job Tips: Be energetic, be patient and be flexible.

This should be the mantra for all new or incoming teachers, particularly at the high school level. Many times, high school teachers strive to win their battle, whatever that is; this is not the course to take. Adolescence is a whirlwind, and you can't expect to control it.

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