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Career Story: Public School Teacher

Public School Teacher

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in a small suburban town in Massachusetts.

Education: BES, Elementary Education, Salem State College •• M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, UMass-Lowell

Previous Experience: I did some student teaching and some long-term substitute positions, covering two different maternity leaves. I also worked as a museum teacher, giving guided tours to students of all age ranges and abilities who came to the museum on field trips.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for planning, implementing, and assessing student learning in the areas of math and science. Each lesson must be carefully crafted to ensure that I am meeting the needs of each individual learner based on each child's strengths (this is called "differenting instruction") so that all children can learn the material being taught. I must also ensure that each lesson is connected to the curriculum frameworks that the state has mandated for my area and grade. After carefully planning and teaching lessons, I must then assess each child's progress to ensure that the material is indeed being taught on their level and that they are actually learning said material (as mandated by the state). I then must consider if the child is making effective progress in the curriculum area, and make an action plan if he isn't. I must plan for whole class, small group, and individual instruction within each lesson to ensure that all children are on task and learning.

I communicate with each child's parents and foster a relationship with parents that will ensure the success of the child in and out of school. We use conferences, classroom visits, telephone calls, emails, and notes home. Report cards are another way of communicating with parents.

I work with my principal and assistant principal to ensure that any issues are handled and that they are always in the loop about what I am teaching, why I am teaching it, and how I am teaching it. I must have professional goals and meet with my supervisor to ensure that I am doing the best job that I can to meet those goals.

I must attend graduate level courses and professional development workshops in my district and on my own time to keep my state issued certification valid. I must keep track and submit all paperwork to the state to ensure that I am a qualified teacher. But I work to hard to make each student's school experience successful.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are working directly with the students and seeing them be proud of their learning. I also love to see students make a connection between something in the curriculum and something in "real life". I like to develop relationships with my students that grow and evolve as the year develops and I like the "light bulb" moments that happen when someone "gets it."

The worst part of the job is all of the paperwork and administrative duties that don't directly impact student learning positively.

Job Tips:
1. Don't take yourself too seriously. A child who is struggling to learn can teach you a lot about life and what is valuable and what is not.

2. Be flexible. Planning is important, but more often than not, plans get changed quickly and you need to be OK with that so you can always be "in the moment" and not waste a second.

3. Seek good mentors. Find people who share similar interests and who will help you achieve your professional goals. Be willing to ask lots of questions and listen for answers. Be willing to be a student yourself!!

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