My Education: BS, Secondary Science Education, Kansas State University
My Prior Experience: I worked at KSU as a medical transcriptionist at the College of Veterinary Medicine before I went back to school to become a teacher. I also worked at a few schools during my education as a student teacher and an aide.
My Company: I work for a school district in Wake county, North Carolina.
Job/Career Overview: I teach Earth Science and Advanced Placement Environmental Science to six classes of students in grades nine through twelve.
Some of my less obvious duties are: record keeping - lots of legal papers and record keeping on grades and attendance; writing lessons for each class; monitoring the hallways; enforcing school rules; making sure all kids are safe and healthy; grading papers for grammar and spelling, even though I am not an English teacher; meeting with counselors, parents and students who are struggling; attending staff meetings, club meetings, department meetings and professional learning team meetings; and attending after school events.
These are just some of the responsibilities that a school teacher has. We also attend professional development courses. We have seminars and workshops on Saturdays and during summer months. Many teachers work part-time jobs in order to keep money coming in over the summer months, too. I administer ACT and SAT tests and work at our Saturday school, at times.
I rate this career 9 out of 10.
Every day is different. For me, this is a great thing! We have the opportunity to get to know each child's unique differences and needs, but have the freedom of teaching different topics every day. We repeat this every year, of course. The hours that a teacher puts into his work can be deceiving. Although we have school hours from 8 to 3, we work at home every day and spend most weekends designing new lessons and tests. That may seem like a drawback, but I see that as a fun part of the job. I can change things from last year that did not work so well and improve on them.
The bad part is that parents sometimes seem to believe that we have all the time in the world to focus on one child. Contrary to other grades, high school teachers have around 180 to 200 kids they are teaching and have a host of responsibilities before and after school that people are unaware of. It can be frustrating sometimes that parents are blind to this. We also have 25 minutes for lunch - and also have lunch duty occasionally!
Visit school whenever possible. Volunteer at the school. Make opportunities to visit elementary, middle, and high schools to see which level of student you feel more comfortable with. Visit private schools and charter schools as well as public schools. Ask questions of all teachers and understand that there are many excellent teachers, not just tired teachers who might be a little jaded by a stressful day! Talk to kids about what they like in their teachers and what they do not like about teachers or school. Sometimes you can relate to them and decide to make sure that you give them a different experience than what they might have already experienced.