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Career Story: High School Math Teacher

High School Math Teacher

Job Title: High School Math Teacher

Education: BA in Criminology/Criminal Justice, Purdue University •• License to Teach Secondary Math, Purdue University

Previous Experience: I coached Track and Field at West Lafayette High School in Indiana. I was a camp counselor while in college.

Job Tasks: I teach Geometry, and Probability & Statistics at a high school in Virginia, outside of Washington, DC. I am a public school teacher, teaching for one of the largest school districts in the country. We have block scheduling so I typically have to write one lesson plan per day. In the past I have had to write out at least 2 and at times 3 a day. This easier load has helped out my time management, because with about a 140 students, it is always a balancing act trying to get all of the grading and planning coordinated. We also are expected to write up attendance referals, and other administrative things like parent e-mails and grade reports. On average this takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day.

The typical day involves caring out lesson plans with each class that is meeting that day taking attendance, assessesing student achievement, and being patient with 20-30 teenagers at one time for about a 90 minute block. We often have a opening activity or a few problems to start, then we check the last homework, answer questions followed by a brief lesson. Then students are challenged to get started on the days assignment. The interaction with the kids and seeing them engage and learn is the best part of the job. With block scheduling you only consistently see all your students on a two day cycle. I also usually make myself available after school for an hour for students who may need extra help to understand a current concept being taught, making up homework, making up tests and quizzes. About twice a week I have some administrative meetings with either other teachers or on occasion parents and counselors regarding student's performance.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: As mentioned before interacting with the kids is the best part of the job. When you can actually see students start understanding math concepts, that is really exciting. I also enjoy challenging my students to grow up, and really take responsibility for their own academic growth.

The worse part is when students don't take responsibility for their development, and when they struggle, it becomes the teacher's fault. It also can be difficult when as the teacher you deal with parents who think it is your fault their child is getting a lower grade they are use to. And at times a group of students struggle and if your adminstrator blames you, it can be difficult.

Job Tips:
1. Only pursue a teaching career if you really love interacting with children.

2. Before you decide to teach, be sure to closely observe the age group you want to teach in the school enviroment. As a coach and camp counselor, I found that youth interacted with me very differently than as their math teacher.

3. Once you get your degree and teaching license, be selective in finding the right school and if you get discouraged to the point of giving up, be sure to rethink your school before you totally rethink the career choice.

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