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Featuring Jay D' Ambrosio '95

Position: American History Teacher
School: Hampton Middle School
Location: Allison Park, PA
Graduate School: Slippery Rock University
Graduate Program: History

Information about Jay's graduate school experience

(Profiled: January 2012)

 

  How did you connect with this job opportunity?

♦  What attracted you to this position?

♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

♦  What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?

♦  How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?

♦  What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?

♦  What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

 

How did you connect with this job opportunity?

I happened to see a posting for a history position through the Hampton Township School District Web site.  I also knew a few teachers/administrators in the district who spoke very highly of the school system.

 

What attracted you to this position?

I had been teaching in a school district for thirteen years and I was really enjoying my career.  However, late in the Spring of 2008 I started feeling the urge to explore my options.  Hampton was a well-known school district that ranked consistently near the top academically both in Pennsylvania and nationally.  I saw this as an opportunity to become a part of exciting things that were happening there.

 

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

I absolutely love working with middle school students.  They are at a point in their lives that is full of turbulence and confusion.  I feel that I am in a position where I can help them navigate those chaotic years.  I also enjoy taking facts and concepts in history and weaving them into stories to which middle level learners can relate.

 

What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?

Seventeen years ago, when I first set out on my teaching adventure, I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed.  Classroom management was a bit of a challenge at first.  Preparing and executing lessons that were engaging and relevant was a daily ordeal.  As time went on however, I began to step into the flow of middle school life and steadily improved my delivery and planning.

 

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?

My history courses at Grove City College were rigorous, requiring in-depth research and critical analysis.  This has been a wonderful foundation upon which to build a teaching career. The Hampton Township School District is dedicated to providing a curriculum that is both rigorous and relevant.  My years at GCC have definitely prepared me to deliver such a curriculum. 

 

What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?

Learn as much as you can about the subject matter you are expected to teach.  Read the textbook thoroughly.  Read books by well-respected authors that are related to your subject.  Watch documentaries that explore it in greater depth.  Your role as a classroom teacher is to take the facts and information students are expected to learn and transform them into something that is relevant and engaging.  The more you stay informed about your subject, the more natural this becomes. 

 

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

There are literally hundreds of candidates applying for a single teaching position these days.  It is absolutely essential that you determine what sets you apart from everybody else.  There is something.  You just have to figure out what that is and sell it like there’s no tomorrow. Are you experienced with technology in a way that distinguishes you?  Have you had a particular experience that not many other people have had (i.e. travel, student teaching in another country, etc.)?  The standard model we’ve always used for applying to schools just doesn’t work anymore.  Administrators read hundreds of cover letters and sift through endless stacks of resumes.  Why not design a YouTube video that highlights your creativity and innovative spirit?  Email it to the administrators of the school where you would like to teach.  Compile a list of the most compelling statements from your letters of recommendation into one document.  “She created lessons that used technology in some remarkable ways!” “He developed a wonderful rapport with both faculty and students.” Put these statements into an online video with music.  Insert photos of you in action.  Think outside the box.  

 

Also, don’t limit yourself to teaching only in public schools.  With the recent funding cuts at the state level and declining local revenues, finding a teaching position in a public school has become more challenging than ever.  Fortunately, there are other avenues into the teaching profession.  Explore private, independent, and charter school options as well.  Online teaching opportunities are also increasingly available.  Investigate every path.

 

 

 

More information about Jay's graduate school experience

 

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Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014