My Education: BA, History, Holy Cross College MA, Education, Anna Maria College (Paxton, MA)
My Prior Experience: I was employed by the Department of Social Services for a year and spent several years doing home care for the elderly.
My Company: I work for a school district in Massachusetts.
Job/Career Overview: I am currently a third grade teacher in an elementary school with around 400 students. I have also taught second, fourth and sixth grade. My main responsibility is to educate students using the state-ordained curriculum. Each day I teach reading, math, writing, science and social studies. Students in grades 3-12 in Massachusetts are responsible for taking the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) exam each spring. Preparing students for these exams is an additional responsibility.
As well as teaching the curriculum, my job involves teaching young students social skills, teamwork, and responsibility. A typical school day runs from approximately 8:20AM - 2:30PM. Many teachers arrive early each day to prepare the day's lessons. The school day is very busy with little downtime. I usually spend many additional hours at home at night and on the weekends gathering and preparing materials for the upcoming week.
More Insights: Many people look at the summer vacation teachers have and don't realize that many teachers take classes over the summer and use that time to prepare for a new year. The school year is very demanding and the typical day is full of many challenges and rewards. Keeping students engaged and interested is very important. If they see your interest and enthusiasm it helps to keep them involved.
I rate this career 10 out of 10.
The best part of my job is watching students learn new material. Young learners are so excited about learning new concepts and having new experiences. It is very gratifying when students are doing well and you are able to motivate them. Another part of my job that I really enjoy is the collaboration with other teachers. We all work very well together to make our school the best school possible. I also enjoy the actual process of teaching. I like to prepare lessons and create assessments.
I think a difficult part of the job is all of the mandated statewide and district-wide assessments. I think these high-stakes tests can be very stressful for young students.
I went into teaching as a second career and taking courses to get my master's degree was difficult with a young family. I would encourage students to pursue their advanced degree early on. I think having a specialty is important when looking at tight job markets. I might get a reading or math certificate. Also, I think a good idea would be to think about learning a second language, starting in middle school and high school.