Last Updated on Saturday, 09 January 2010 11:10 Posted by Clash Saturday, 09 January 2010 08:50
Job-title: 5th grade teacher
Web/blog site URL: http://teachers.emints.org/fy05/laytont/
Give us your job description in 25 words or less. I entertain, police, and pack knowledge into the brains of 10-12 yr olds!
Describe a typical workday. Make sure the classroom is organized and ready for the kids. Greet them, ask about their lives, and shuffle morning papers, homework, and occasional excuses. Teach, which involves rapping, talking in British accents, and various other forms of making a fool out of myself. There’s also a small amount of disciplining and cattle prodding, er…motivating. I also ask LOTS of questions and answer quite a few more. I have 12 computers in my classroom, so I try to get the kids online and in programs as much as possible to develop those skills. At lunchtime, I get about 20 minutes to chat with other teachers, then it’s back in the classroom. I also have 50 minutes each afternoon to prep for the rest of the week. I spend this time on lesson plans, finding cool activities, preparing those activities, keeping up with parents through phone calls, notes, and newsletters, and grading papers. Unfortunately, the papers end up coming home with me and (maybe) getting graded while I watch American Idol.
What led you to realize that you wanted to do this type of work? I’ve always enjoyed kids, even when I was one. I had my first babysitting job at age 10, and taught swimming lessons from 7th grade through college. So I sort of always knew I’d work with kids. My senior year of high school I was a student aide in a kindergarten classroom. After one day in the mix with those kids, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Did you have any heroes or mentors in your industry that you admired. Mrs. Epp, the teacher I aided for, who also happened to be my old kindertarten teacher. She loved those kids so much and was able to use her creativity to teach them. She created alphabet characters to teach each letter, complete with songs about each one. I still can sing Mischevious Monkey by heart!
What type of education or training was required to land your job? A 4 year degree in education. I actually majored in early childhood education, but added on my 3rd-6th grade certification. It’s a good thing, too, because the job I was offered (and still hold) was in 5th grade. I also have my master’s degree now, but I earned that a little bit at a time while teaching in order to increase my pay.
What do you love most about your job? First and most of all, the kids! They’re at that age where they still think you’re pretty cool (most of the time) and they want to know you and be known by you. They’re funny and inspiring, and watching them learn and grow makes the job totally rewarding. Other than that, I like the freedom of being a classroom teacher. At my school, I’m the only 5th grade teacher, so I get to set my own curriculum scheduling for the year. I get to come up with (or steal from others) all the ideas for what we do. If a lesson isn’t going well, I can scrap it and start something new. Obviously, I’m held accountable for what I do by my principal, my kids’ parents, and other authorities, but as long as I’m doing a good job teaching, I get to be the one that decides how I do it. Other job perks: a family-friendly schedule (I have two little munchkins of my own), summers off, a fresh start every year, and snow days!
What one part of your job do you wish you could hire someone else to do? Grading papers! UGH! I drag most of my grading home with me, since I can’t seem to get to it during my prep time. I probably spend an average of five hours a week at home grading papers.
What advice would you give to teenagers wanting to get into your field of work? Work with kids as much as you can. Babysit. Work at a day care or swimming pool. Volunteer in the church nursery or at vacation Bible school. Help out with your younger relatives. That’s where you’ll learn to be a teacher, not in those college classes.
How does your job allow you to use your God-given gifts? I’ve always been creative, independent, and a little bossy. Teaching is the perfect avenue for all those gifts (is bossiness a gift?). I get to take a challenge – get this body of knowledge into those 20 bodies in 174 days – and attack it myself. There are tons of ways I use creativity in a classroom – from classroom decoration, to designing class newsletters, to singing and other theatrics. As for serving God in my job, I get to love on those same “little children” that He invites into His arms! At a public school, I can’t preach to them, but I can try to be a solid example of God’s love and hope that they will some day know the Reason I’m different.