My Education: BA, English, Worcester State College (Worcester, MA) M.Ed., Secondary Education, Worcester State (Worcester, MA)
My Prior Experience: I was a substitute teacher and an aide in a behavior disorder classroom.
My Company: I work in a middle school classroom in a Massachusetts school district.
Job/Career Overview: I usually go in to work about an hour before school starts. I have to make sure that I list all the curriculum standards on the board that I will be covering that day. I decide what the students will do for their "bell work." This has to be something that students can complete on their own in under 5 minutes. Then I have to prepare the room for the activities of the day. This can involve seeking out the in-focus projector...or finding the necessary print materials to be used.
Once the students arrive we must teach them bell-to-bell. This means that they are supposed to be in active learning mode from the time the first bell rings until the end of class bell rings. Some days this means that I teach for four hours straight before getting a break. Between classes we are expected to straddle the classroom door so that we can monitor the activity in the hallway and in the class simultaneously.
I usually have 55 minutes to plan each day...during plan I check the school email site as most communication between staff and administration is done over the internet. This is also the time for going to the bathroom and getting a drink or a snack. Many days I fill out paperwork for field trips and individual education plans. I also try to grade papers, but I do most of my grading over the weekends (usually about 3-4 hours). I also do major classroom planning over the weekends as I really can't plan for the next week until I know how much we were able to get through the previous week.
Basically I have to teach and be ready to discipline every day. It's much like trying to juggle.
More Insights: One thing an outsider may not know is that you should make sure that you decide what school district you want to work in in the first few years of teaching. Some schools only want to hire people in their first 3 years of teaching because it is too expensive to hire people who are already on a higher pay scale.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best part of the job is seeing students develop into young adults before my eyes...and seeing their faces when they finally understand something.
The worst part is dealing with people who don't teach and aren't in a classroom who try to tell us what we can and can't do... and not having access to our own printers and photocopiers.
You can only learn to teach by teaching at a school...not in a college classroom.
Make sure that you learn how to use rubrics and how to grade. They're important.
While you're new to teaching be humble about what you know and absorb what veteran teachers have to tell you.
Remember that you should be nice to every person who works in your building. The custodian and the office staff are just as important as you are. They keep the building clean and running and if they don't do a good job, you won't be able to either. In any job you should treat all employees with respect. All are valuable or they would not be there.