Career Story: Fifth Grade School Teacher

Fifth Grade School Teacher

Job Title: School Teacher

Education: BS Sociology, University of Maine and teacher certification program at Worcester State

Previous Experience: I worked retail management for 18+ years. The management of people and customer service allow me to be very organized in my classroom and attentive to the parents as well as my students.

Job Tasks: I am a 5th grade teacher. I teach reading, math, science and religion while supporting the Langauage Arts teacher with the "John Collins" writing program used throughout our school. A typical day includes much more than just educating students. My day begins with a homeroom room period during which I address life skills, such as how to get organized for the day, or how to talk to an adult and express thoughts clearly. Next I move onto collecting notes and taking attendance which is the administrative part of every day. The first period of my day is dedicated to teaching reading, not the basic skills, but how to truly understand the content and intent of the stories or articles being read. In a time where most everything involves media presentations and processing, it is sometimes challenging to create an interest in the written word, let alone the mastery of the materials. Often I find myself acting as much like a stand-up comic or enetertainer as an educator! Accepting this daily challenge, I believe I prepare myself for it daily. I plunge forward to develop my students' minds. Many times this gets side tracked by a student's question or a story that is introduced into the discussion that truly requires attention.

My day moves forward through the other subjects in much the same manner. Squeezed in between teaching periods are emails from parents to be answered or phone calls to follow up, teaching materials to be copied or made for my students, and recess or lunch duties to be done. Some days include recess/lunch periods holding tutoring sessions which may extend to after school sessions also. Add a few days that have staff meetings, parent conferences, and after school activities, and the recipe for my typical week days is complete.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of my job is the lack of uninterrupted time to spend with my students and not having enough preparation time each week. As a teacher I sit in June and write a review of my year and plan the changes I believe would be most helpful for my students. In August I start to prepare the materials for the coming school year. Then the year begins and I meet my students, and all my best laid plans need to be adapted to the current students. This really does have to be a daily process since teaching is a process and as my students change I see the need to make changes too so that I am reaching them to the best of my ability. I am always sad when I do not have enough time time to make necessary changes and do better for my students.

Job Tips: Remember that education is about the student, not you or the parent.

Work with the parents, not against them.

Make learning fun, and your students will learn!

Additional Thoughts: Teaching is a most rewarding career for those who truly love it. Before committing to becoming an educator, visit many classrooms, and many grade levels. Work with children in volunteer positions or as a life guard or camp counselor. Be sure you love to be with kids. If you still believe that teaching is for you, go for it! Enjoy it. The children will teach you everyday and keep you young. Those are pretty nice job perks!

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