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Career Story: High School Social Studies Teacher

High School Social Studies Teacher

Job Title: Educator

Type of Company: I work for a school district in southern NH.

Education: BA in History, Keene State College

Previous Experience: I have been a Social Studies teacher since I started teaching in 1995.

Job Tasks: I really enjoy my teaching job. Currently, I work with sophomores in a high school that is less than two years old. This is especially challenging as everything we are doing is brand new. We are writing curriculum for the classes we are teaching, and assessing our progress constantly. We meet in teams frequently to see to it that our students are having similar experiences in similar classes.

Our school is set up on an alternating block schedule with 85 minute classes. Depending on the number of credits a class is worth, a class will meet every other day or daily. We have a competency based system of assessment, which means that skills are measured separately rather than merely averaged. A student needs an average of 70% to receive credit for a class, otherwise they do not pass. Interestingly enough, we do not have D grades. Needless to say, this has taken some getting used to for all involved, but we believe it is a better system. It makes the teachers really think about what they are assigning and designing for work, and it allows the students to challenge themselves and grow as individuals.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I get the most enjoyment out of my work when it is obvious that a student has made a personal connection with their learning. When the students are interested in what they are doing, it is the best!

The most exhausting part of the job is starting up a new high school and designing everything from the ground up. It is exciting, but also very challenging!

Job Tips:
1. Do not be surprised if you find that you cannot "save" everyone. Students have to want their own success just as much as you do.

2. Take the time to relax and rejuvenate your own mind. If you are bored with your subject matter, imagine how your students feel.

3. The year you are "having to work" rather than "going to school" should be your last - when it happens, retire.

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