For Expert Advice from school districts and college
career services offices, check out:
AAEE Career Corner
Job Search Handbook
HAL 100 to pick up your copy.
Featuring Alison Seefeldt '08
Position: Kindergarten Teacher
School: Urban Promise School
Location: Wilmington, DE
Graduate School: University of Delaware
Graduate Program: MS in Human Development & Family Studies Information on Alison's
graduate school experience
(Profiled: November 2011)
How did you connect with this job
After I did a multicultural field experience, I thought I may be
interested in teaching in an urban setting, so I completed a summer
internship before my senior year with Urban Promise Ministries in
Camden, New Jersey, working in a summer camp. My internship confirmed my
desire to teach in an inner-city school. During my senior year, the
Executive Director of Urban Promise Wilmington came to campus to
recruit. I met him in the Student Union, and he invited me to come visit
Urban Promise’s private Christian school. I went to visit right after
graduation, and he offered me a job teaching kindergarten.
What attracted you to this
I wanted to work in a place where I felt like I could really make an
impact. Urban Promise was a very small and relatively new school, and
during my time there I got to be involved in many aspects of the school,
like choosing curriculum and leading professional development. I also
liked that the school served low-income inner-city families, because
this was the population I was interested in working with.
What are the most gratifying
aspects of your job?
Getting to see firsthand my students learning new things, like seeing
them learn to read, come to know more about who God is, and learn to get
along and support each other. My relationships with my co-workers and
the parents of my students were also gratifying. They took work,
patience, and humility to establish, but it was definitely worth it.
What was your biggest challenge as
a first-year teacher?
My first thought was everything! But really, I guess it was trying to
stay true to what I had learned at Grove City about what is best
practice and what I personally believe about teaching when it felt like
it wasn’t working and when people around me were telling me I needed to
do things differently. This was especially true with classroom
management. It took time for my students to adjust to my way of doing
things when often they were used to more punitive discipline. I never
really got to the place I wanted to be in my first year of teaching, and
I had to accept that it was okay that I was not perfect and that my
students were not perfect. By my third year I was really able to develop
the type of classroom community I had hoped for my first year, and I
think that was due to the ways I struggled and grew during those first
years of teaching.
How did your time at GCC prepare
you for the teaching field?
I really appreciate all the field experience I gained in a variety of
settings. It was great to be able to say in interviews that I’d worked
with all age groups, preschool through sixth grade! I also think Grove
City’s emphasis on professionalism helped prepare me to excel in the
field, even though I looked young.
What advice would you give to a
current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future
Try to make the most of your coursework and fieldwork. Sometimes it can
be easier to just do enough to get by when things get really busy, but
trying to get the most out of each assignment and experience can help
you to be better prepared. Work with children as much as possible. This
helps you figure out your style of classroom management and the way you
relate to children, and it’s better to start thinking about these things
before you have your own classroom! Also, start a list of ideas for
lessons, management, classroom setup, and anything else you see in your
fieldwork or from your classmates that you may want to use when you have
your own classroom.
What job search tips would you
give to GCC students?
Be open to lots of different options. During college I never considered
working in a Christian school, but working at Urban Promise ended up
being a great fit for me, and I loved the Christian atmosphere. Don’t
rule out any options too soon, whether it’s geographic, school type, or
age group. I always tell people especially not to rule out working in an
urban setting because they think they couldn’t do it. I believe anyone
can do it with God’s help if they love children and are willing to work
hard. Also, there’s a great need for excellent teachers in inner-city
schools, and the rewards are enormous.