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Career Story: Ninth Grade English Teacher In A Suburban School

Ninth Grade English Teacher In A Suburban School

Job Title: Teacher

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

Education: BA, English Literature, Middlebury College

Previous Experience: My career path after college went from account management in advertising agencies to event management in sports marketing to marketing and sales in the video industry. Within the video industry I worked in an office setting in marketing and as a home-based, regional sales representative for a large studio, and also as a sales representative for a wholesale video distributor.

Job Tasks: I am now a high school English teacher, and I work exclusively with 9th grade students. My responsibilities include trying to develop students' reading and writing skills, but I like to believe it all comes down to helping individuals become more comfortable with who they are and with the decisions that they'll be faced with as they mature in this world. We have a list of books (and other material) that we read during the year, and students regularly write about and discuss various aspects of this material. We also work on new vocabulary and review grammar, to improve our understanding of the English language.

An average day for me is spent preparing for the different classes I teach, teaching them, and taking whatever time I can to grade and prepare for the upcoming day. Teaching is a job of CONSTANT reflection; I'm always thinking about what's next, or where I need to be in the upcoming days and weeks, and in that sense, it's never boring. The best part of my job is that it's always changing, and that we usually laugh a lot, either at ourselves or what we're studying. The hardest part is that the energy level or commitment of my students is not always where I'd like it to be. However, I think every job has that kind of "good/bad" situation, but I do love the idea that I have an opportunity to inspire someone on almost a daily basis.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: As I mentioned above, the hardest part of teaching is managing my expectations with the sometimes sub-standard motivation of my students; let's face it, sometimes people just aren't that into what we're doing, or my subject isn't their favorite thing. On the other hand, the best part is that I do believe I have an opportunity to make a difference, or be a positive role model, and that's something I felt was lacking when I was in sales. I'm always busy, but that's far better than being bored!

Job Tips:
1. I would suggest "doing something else" before starting a teaching career; in other words, it helps to come into teaching with a bit more experience and maturity than you'd have if you arrived straight out of college.

2. Decide early on what you stand for--a love of reading, language, something tied to your subject, or maybe it's something as simple as sports. It helps if they students know how to define you.

3. Don't get too high or too low--the good times in teaching are tremendous, but the bad times can really, really drag you down. There's always another day, and that day is usually better than the previous one!

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