Career Story: High School Latin Teacher

High School Latin Teacher

Job Title: Latin Teacher

Education: BA in Latin, College of William and Mary

Previous Experience: I worked as a research assistant at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary and deceloped curriculum designed for gifted students, as well as observing classrooms in three different school districts.

Job Tasks: As a teacher, the smallest portion of my day is actually spent teaching. I usually arrive at work an hour in advance of the first school bell to finish copying any worksheets for my classes, and to finish cutting out manipulatives or drawing up review games for the students.

When my classes begin, so does the most enjoyable part of the day, when I have the opportunity to interact with my students. This can also be the most stressful as I have usually spent many hours developing the lesson plans I use, so if a lesson bombs, it can be very stressful. However, every period and every student is a little like a puzzle piece, trying to figure out how to fit in and include each student's interests and learning style into the greater whole of the lesson.

During my planning period and down-time, I spend my time planning my lessons and how I intend to teach my subject, as well as calling and e-mailing parents. I also use this time to tutor students who come in during their activity and lunch periods as well as finishing up paperwork.

After school, I generally stay for at least two hours after the students go home to finish grading, entering the grades, and organizing the classroom materials for the next day. At least two days a week, I stay a little longer to allow students to come afterschool for tutoring or Classics Club, an after-school club I sponsor.

I try to make sure that I don't bring any grading home, but on big test days, it is inevitable.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best is knowing that you've gotten through to a student and seen that "aha moment" where the light suddenly switches on. I love that I get to socialize with other people on a daily basis and earn money for doing so. The unfortunate part is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy and work on a daily basis to be a teacher, and particularly to be an effective one.

Job Tips:
1. My first tip would be to be passionate about your subject. Students have a hard time feeling passionate about anything if their role model is not.

2. Secondly, make sure that you enjoy spending time around large groups of people who are either younger or less experienced than yourself. You have to have a very patient personality to deal with all of the things that are thrown at you in a classroom.

3. Lastly, you have to develop a very thick skin and learn not to take everything personally. This can be very hard when you've invested so much of your personal energy into what you do, but its important to make sure that you have a life outside of school that you value, and remember that whenever you feel overwhelmed.

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