My Education: BA, Purdue University M.Ed., Cambridge College (Cambridge, MA) California state teachers certification
My Prior Experience: I started as a third grade teacher in south-central Los Angeles, then moved to Palo Alto where I taught second grade. After taking 9 years off to raise my children, I returned to teaching and have been teaching fifth grade for the past decade.
My Company: I work for a suburban school district in Massachusetts.
Job/Career Overview: As an elementary teacher I have the privilege of working with young people in a positive environment. I spend much of my time planning and designing lessons that will reach all learners, but looking at student work and assessing kids' progress takes a lot of my time in the evenings and on the weekends. Still, it's the best way to know what I need to do next in the classroom. I love the part when I am in class teaching students new concepts and I hear, "Oh, I get it now!" That is truly the best part of my job. The most difficult part is trying to help students with special needs while keeping average and gifted students challenged. It requires a lot of management, organization, and creativity.
As a mother and a wife, I love my career because it gives me much-needed breaks. During vacation weeks and summer break I am able to catch up on my other interests and responsibilities. Even during the school year, the schedule is flexible. For example, I can leave work at 4, go to the gym for a workout, cook dinner and spend time with the family, and I still have time to correct papers or finish my day's work in the latter half of the evening.
More Insights: The misconception about teaching is that it is easy and your day ends at 3:30. If that is the case, you are not doing a good job. Teaching can take a lot of time and energy or a little. If you are only willing to give a little, do us all a favor and choose another career. We need teachers who are motivated to change the world for the better.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
As I said above, the best part is the thrill of hearing a child say, "Oh, I get it!" The worst part is trying to please everyone all the time. You have to deal with demanding and unrealistic parents, entitled children, and unrealistic expectations from the school's administration. As at any job, the people you work with can make it or break it for you. With teaching, the more positive and optimistic I can be, the more I enjoy my work. Some teachers tend to be complainers. That is an easy road to take, and I try hard to turn off of it as soon as I find myself on it. The more upbeat I am, the more fun it is for me and for my students.
Take your college classes seriously and learn as much as you can about the subjects you will be teaching. The deeper and broader your understanding, the better job you will do communicating it to students. Make sure you take a class in child development and brain-based learning. You need to understand cognitive development and basic psychology.