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Career Story: Geometry Teacher At A Suburban High School

Geometry Teacher At A Suburban High School

Job Title: High School Math Teacher

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

Education: BA, Math & Psychology, Cornell University

Previous Experience: I switched careers after working at IBM for 16 years. After raising my 2 children, I returned to work as an aide in an elementary school. Then I moved to a middle school to focus on older students and math. This led to my current job as a high school math teacher.

Job Tasks: I create lesson plans every night for the next day's lessons. I use the text book, supplementary materials and the internet to design a lesson to deliver new information and ensure student learning. I teach 3 classes every day (each 77 minutes long) and have one free period. My classes range in size from 9 to 26 students and I switch classes that I teach mid-year (block/semester schedule). I started out teaching Geometry and Algebra 1.

Like all teachers, I spend a lot of time talking with parents, Special Education liaisons and the students themselves about their progress. I also spend a lot of time in meetings. Grading papers and doing report cards takes a bunch of time too. I work about 60-70 hours a week and feel like I should spend even more. Classroom management is a huge issue these days - kids are talkative, restless and texting all the time.

Job Tips:
1. Make sure to do student teaching so you can practice and get support and guidance before you take a job and get overwhelmed. 2. Be firm with the students from the start and make sure to follow up so they don't take advantage of you. Just asking them to stop talking doesn't work; you have to insist and mete out punishments: stop and wait for them to stop, change their seats, send them out of the room, give detention, etc. 3. Make sure to get along with your department leader and principal; they will always be looking to replace you with someone better for less pay.

Additional Thoughts: High school age students are tough to deal with because they are at the age when they think they know everything. If you think you can't be firm enough, try middle school. I love teaching math, but when students won't listen, it is hard.

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