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Career Story: Science Teacher At A Camp For At-Risk Children

Science Teacher At A Camp For At-Risk Children

Job Title: Science Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a therapeutic wilderness camp for at-risk youth.

Education: BA, Biology and Marine Science, Wittenberg University (Ohio) •• Post-Baccalaureate to earn a North Carolina teaching license in Secondary Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Previous Experience: I started as a permanent substitute teacher at a Catholic high school. I was then hired full-time and worked as a high school biology and oceanography teacher at the same high school while earning my North Carolina teaching license. I taught at the school for a total of 5 years.

Job Tasks: As a science teacher at a therapeutic wilderness camp, I have all the responsibilities of a normal classroom teacher, plus the added benefit of being in the woods. I am responsible for planning and implementing science lessons for 5th-8th grade as well as for high school science courses such as environmental science, physics, biology, etc. My classes are small, 8-12 students each, but are made up of mixed grade levels, so I have to make sure that I am meeting the educational needs of all of them at the same time. It is kind of like working in a one room school house.

My lesson plans follow the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, which contains all of the goals and objectives that each student should be exposed to throughout their school year. I am also responsible for attendance and grades. Many of my students have struggled in school, either academically or behaviorally, so this is an opportunity for me to work on a very individual basis with the kids to help them manage themselves appropriately in a classroom setting and to learn new skills that will help them to succeed. I keep a weekly record of how students are managing in the classroom and offer constant encouragement. I am also responsible for participating in meetings and other activities that are part of their treatment plan while at camp.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I get to positively influence the lives of young people and witness them grow and succeed.

The worst part of my job is that there are some very challenging circumstances that can be quite emotionally draining and difficult to deal with. Some of my students have aggressive behaviors that are hard to manage.

Job Tips: When thinking about becoming a teacher, keep in mind that you are teaching students, not subjects. Patience and compassion are necessary tools for this job. Educational classes can prepare you for your experience in the classroom, but you will learn more from the act of teaching than from any class you will ever take.

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