Job Title: Teacher
Type of Company: I work for a school district in a suburb of Boston.
Education: BA, History, College of Charleston (South Carolina) MA, Intercultural Relations, Lesley University (Cambridge, MA)
Previous Experience: I worked as an instructor at Outward Bound and taught English in Japan.
Job Tasks: I teach ninth graders Modern World History, beginning with the Enlightenment and working up to the present. I also teach Sociology as an elective to 11th and 12th graders. I am the faculty advisor for the Model UN club here at the high school.
In order to teach effectively, my colleagues and I work on our curriculum for the entire course. This involves thinking about what the goals are for the entire year, and then breaking down these goals for each unit. It's important to keep in mind how the goal for each unit helps students understand the larger goals we've set for the course. This happens on a smaller level as well, thinking about how the learning goals for each lesson help students reach the understandings for each unit that we want them to remember years from now. For us, it's not as important that they remember key words, but the larger concepts. For example, rather than remember specific machines that were developed during the industrial revolution, we hope that students understand how the invention of new machines impacted the economy the and government as well as change the structure of society.
Of course I also have to answer emails, provide extra help to kids who need it, and teach.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love interacting with my students. I get to see how much ninth graders grow over the course of their first year in high school. Then, if I have them again in Sociology, I also get to see how much they've changed. I also like to think about how I can help students understand the big ideas that I'm hoping they'll encounter after they leave my class.
I don't like pushy parents or students who are more focused on the grade than learning. I also get irked by teachers who are not as focused on learning.
Job Tips: If you don't like kids, you're not going to enjoy teaching or be successful at it. You interact with kids more than anything else.
Remember that you're teaching kids who have lives outside of your classroom. As important as history is for me, I try to recognize that it might not be the most important thing for them.
Don't simply think about your content (history, English, math, etc.) but about how you're going to help students understand that content.
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