My Education: BS, Salem State College Post Bac., Bridgewater State College M.Ed. Fitchburg State College
My Prior Experience: I have worked as a substitute teacher, a Title I teacher and a classroom teacher.
My Company: A public school system in Massachusetts.
Job/Career Overview: My job consists of teaching all academic subjects, though principally math, English, reading, science and social studies. I teach math twice a day. The morning math class consists of spiraling math: reviewing concepts. Afternoon math is a longer class and introduces new concepts. Reading is also broken into two classes. Whole class reading is taught using a new story each week and focusing on specific reading skills. The second reading class, "Reading Plus," consists of students grouped by performance and is used to target the specific skills those students need. English language arts is a separate class and focuses on grammar and writing. Science and Social Studies are taught in alternating semesters and given less emphasis than in prior years due to pressure from high-stakes testing.
In addition to working with students in the classroom, teachers are required to pursue professional development. Teaching is a profession and much like medicine or the law it is constantly changing (for the better?) and this requires that teachers stay current in their field. A certain amount of PDPs (professional development points) are required by the state for teachers to get re-certified.
More Insights: Do not feel intimidated by people (even friends and family) who undervalue teachers because they have the summer off. I often leave work at 7PM only to finish correcting at home. I work over school vacations and take classes over the summer. You will work as many hours (or more) during the school year as most people work in 52 weeks.
I rate this career 10 out of 10.
The most difficult part of my job is the planning. As a self-contained classroom teacher (teacher of all subjects) I have to prep for six subjects each day. A good teacher tries to create meaningful and interactive lesson plans and to do that is very time-consuming.
The best part of my job is working with young students. They constantly amaze me with their kindness and compassion. I work hard to make them stronger students but they remind me of the goodness and potential of people. I wouldn't trade this for any other job!
Spend time in several classrooms to be sure that teaching is what you truly want to do. Teaching is not a job, it's a vocation.
You will have to get your master's degree once you get your teaching certification. If possible, find a job first. You may be more marketable in this economy if you start at a lower pay scale.
Find a mentor who has a compatible teaching style. Beginning teachers can feel overwhelmed and you will need support in your first year(s).