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Career Story: Middle School English Teacher In New York State

Middle School English Teacher In New York State

Job Title: Middle School Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in Upstate New York

Education: BS, English and Education, Oneonta State University (NY) •• MS, Educational Technology, SUNY-Albany

Previous Experience: I have been teaching since I left college.

Job Tasks: I work with 12-13 year old students on writing and reading. I also spend a considerable amount of time working with students as an advisor for our school's television studio and as a spring sports coach.

As an English teacher, I try to provide my students with as many opportunities as I can to write and read on a regular basis. And I spend a great deal of time working to design lesson plans that minimize the amount of time I spend lecturing to a class and maximizing the time that I allow students to work on meaningful reading and writing assignments. They don't always love that.

I teach four class periods each day, and I also have a structured study hall where I see each of my students at least once each week for additional instruction or extra help. Additionally, there is a structured time at the end of the day that allows students to work in small groups in an interest group. This is where I spend some additional time with students who participate in our television studio. I spend at least 45 minutes after school with students for extra help, and I am also a spring sports coach.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is having the opportunity to interact with kids on a daily basis in different ways. There are students who I teach as well as work with in the morning and afternoon, and as a result, I see a tremendous amount of development from those students. It is also nice that there is very little day-to-day repetition. Working in a middle school is never dull.

The hardest part of my job is grading student work. If students are going to develop as writers, they need to write, and unfortunately, that means I need to read it. It is probably the only drawback to this career.

Job Tips:
1. Make sure you really like working with kids... The summer's off are not worth it if you suffer for 10 months, and kids will know that you're not there having fun.

2. Understand that you pay for the summer off by bringing work home every night.

3. If you're going to be good at this job, you can't do only what is required of you. A kid you coach is a kid who will do more work and grow more as a student in your class because you coach him/her.

Additional Thoughts: If you are going to be a teacher, you'll know way before you finish school. When you do observations, you'll be having fun.

If you don't have great ideas for lesson plans while you're in the shower, on the toilet or on the way to and from school, do something else.

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