Career Story: Spanish Teacher In A Suburban High School

Spanish Teacher In A Suburban High School

Job Title: Teacher

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

Education: BA, Foreign Languages, Assumption College (Worcester, MA)

Previous Experience: I have been teaching high school Spanish since graduating from college in 2004.

Job Tasks: As a high school Spanish teacher I do a variety of things, the most important of which is to plan new lessons. This is difficult at first but becomes much easier with practice and time, as you start to see what works and what doesn't.

I teach during the day, but when I'm not teaching I often devote my time to correcting quizzes or serving as a study hall monitor. Or I might be planning lessons for an upcoming class.

While most people think that a teacher's schedule is ideal (7:30 - 2:00), there is often a lot of work that needs to be done outside of school. First, we tend to have a meeting almost every week. Second, there are always things that can be done (planning, correcting, etc.) Until you've tried it, it's hard to imagine how long it takes to make plans and correct tests. Typically, it takes me about an hour to correct a large quiz (or a small test) for just one class.

I'm only obligated to stay after school for one hour on one day a week for students who need to make up work or who need extra help. But like most teachers that I work with, I try to make myself available almost every day.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is definitely the interactions that I have with the students on a daily basis. It's incredible how much you can learn about students from day to day and even year to year. It's also really nice to see them grow and mature. But I also like the autonomy that being a teacher provides me. I do have a curriculum to follow, but I decide how I want to run my classroom and how I want to present new material. It's great to be able to teach the things I want to teach, the way I want to teach them.

The worst parts of the job are correcting papers and attending meetings. Correcting isn't too bad, but occasionally I have lots of different things to correct and that's when it's the worst. Some meetings aren't too bad, either, but some feel like a waste of time and those are the ones that are tough.

Job Tips:
1. The first year will be difficult, but it gets a little easier every day. The second half of the year is much easier than the first, and the second year is much, much easier than the first one. So stick with it.

2. Plan, plan, plan. The more prepared you are for a class, the easier it will be. You will always want to have extra things to do in case something doesn't go as well as you had hoped, or if something doesn't take as long as you thought it would.

3. Stand in the hallway or by the classroom door in between classes. Say hello to students and greet them as they walk into the room. They will be much more receptive to you and the things you're trying to teach them if they see you as friendly and approachable.

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