Career Story: High School Science Teacher In A Suburban School District

High School Science Teacher In A Suburban School District

Job Title: High School Teacher

Type of Company: I work for the public school system in a suburb of Raleigh.

Education: BS, Economics, North Carolina State University •• Science Education Certification, Lenoir Rhyne College

Previous Experience: I taught science for a community college in a juvenile prison unit for three years while pursuing my science education certification. I have been teaching in a public high school for seven years.

Job Tasks: I teach three periods a day in high school and have another period for planning. I teach Earth Science at both the honors and academic levels. I plan lessons and labs, write tests and quizzes and am responsible for grading the students' completed work. I work with other teachers who teach in the same subject area to plan common assessments and to share ideas and activities. I am responsible for taking daily attendance and entering it into the computer database system. When a student's grades or behavior are not up to par, I schedule conferences with the student and his parent to address the problem. I email parents weekly newsletters and give students and parents progress reports at the end of each unit. I also am the co-advisor for the student council and sponsor of the Dodgeball Club. I have monthly faculty meetings and serve on a committee to implement an advisor/advisee class. This class meets every other week and I teach and advise the students in that class.

A typical day at school looks something like this: I begin by setting up the materials for that day. I gather the necessary materials and set up my eight lab stations. I put out all the hand-outs for that day on a table in the front of the room. I check my email and mailbox. I decide what copies I will need for the next lesson and drop them off in the copy room. I grade some papers and then file them in the students folders. During each class, I give a quiz, notes and then explain the lab activity. I walk around and monitor the students work. During lunch, I help students who come to my classroom needing extra assistance. When school is finished, I pick up my copies for the next lesson and check the lab materials. I meet with student council members to plan activities or supervise the Dodgeball club. I grade more papers, contact parents and finally go home!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love working with high school age students! They are bright and funny and eager to learn. I love their creativity and the unique view they have of the world. It makes my day when I see a student understand a concept for the first time. I am overjoyed when a student who has been struggling finds a way to be successful. I love being able to be a positive influence on students and to impact their lives.

The saddest thing for me is when students are apathetic or give up easily.

Job Tips: I would encourage anyone who is contemplating education as a career to be well-rounded in their course selection. You may end up teaching a subject in your area that is not your first choice. I started out with a biology minor and I taught that in my first job. Now, I teach earth and environmental sciences and I haven't taught biology in years.

Secondly, I would encourage someone interested in teaching to get as much education as possible before you begin work. It is more difficult to get your master's degree while teaching full-time. The pay increase for advanced degrees is worth the extra effort.

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