How did you connect with this job
One of my friends from high school who graduated the year before I did
had been teaching in the position which I am now in. She was relocating
to Virginia to be with her fiancé, so she, knowing that I was being led
to teach at a private school, mentioned that GPCS was looking for
someone who was strong in math. After exploring the website, I visited
the school at the end of last year and interviewed. After much prayerful
consideration, I knew that it was where God wanted me to be teaching
What attracted you to this
The obvious selling point was that I had full assurance that it was
God’s will for me to teach in this school. I remember being so nervous
after visiting there for the first time, and walking away thinking that
it was nothing like what I had expected, but having a strange feeling
that God wanted me there. The building has such character, and the
people in it are even more amazing. I also loved the prospect of being
able to serve in so many different ways while in a private school. I had
experienced serving in public schools before, but it is just a different
dynamic in a Christian school.
What are the most gratifying
aspects of your job?
Connections—and I mean that in a few different ways. The first way,
typical of most teachers, would be seeing students make connections with
the material; you can tell when the “light bulb” goes off in their
heads, and it is so wonderful to be able to witness their epiphanies! I
especially love right now seeing my Geometry students make connections
with this material that is all entirely new to them. Secondly, I really
enjoy making connections with my students on a personal level. I love
being able to pray with them and to openly discuss issues of faith and
spirituality. The first few weeks were really rough before they felt
comfortable with me, but now I have the great privilege of knowing about
some of their joys and trials. It is truly such a blessing to be a part
of their lives. Finally, I am so grateful for the connections that I’ve
made with other faculty members. They have served me as family, taught
me from their vast store of wisdom, and provided such love and
encouragement the past several months. Most importantly, though, my
connection and relationship with God has only been strengthened through
this experience. He has used each day to teach me and mold me and remind
me of His love, and that is the most gratifying thing of all.
What has been your biggest
challenge as a first-year teacher?
The biggest challenge which I’ve faced so far this year is not becoming
discouraged! As I am teaching Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus,
Calculus, and Physics, I have a lot of prep work to do each day, and it
is very time consuming. On top of that, classroom management can be
frustrating at times, since you need to find that balance of keeping the
students under control, but also making the atmosphere comfortable
enough so that they can learn to the fullest of their potential.
Although it is such a blessing to be able to talk about religion with
students, it is heart-breaking to know that some of my students do not
know Christ. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not just
“working through” this first year, but that each day is an opportunity.
How did your time at GCC prepare
you for the teaching field?
God worked so wonderfully through my time at Grove City to prepare me
for this teaching role. The math program provided me with such a strong
basis, which enables me to handle all of the material in the various
subjects I am approaching. The education program served me so well,
teaching me about all of the things that I am now practicing. Even the
little things—like writing lesson plans—are such great skills to have
fully developed and honed before entering the classroom. The education
department also helped me to weigh the different aspects of teaching in
public and private schools, which really helped my transition to GPCS—all of my experience prior to this had been in public school, so it was
nice to have some insight from professors and fellow students at GCC.
Spiritually, Grove City challenged and inspired me so that I can now
better serve my students in that sphere.
What advice would you give to a
current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future
Follow the example of the Master Teacher, and follow what He says are
the greatest of the commandments. Love the Lord—serve Him and He will
never fail you. In this profession you will need a lot of strength, both
physically and mentally/emotionally, but He will provide everything that
you need if you trust Him. And the second is closely related—love one
another. Love your students, care about them—not just about their
ability to succeed in your class, but about them as wonderfully created
people. Show love to your fellow teachers and the staff members at your
Here are some additional tips:
♦ Smile (I don’t buy into the “no smiling before Christmas” rule,
or whatever it is…)
♦ Serve to the fullest of your potential.
♦ Be prepared
to humble yourself and sacrifice with the intent of getting nothing in
return. If you can do that, you will teach your students even more than
what you think you are teaching.
♦ Don’t get in the habit of, like I mentioned earlier, thinking that you
just have to “get through” your first year of teaching. It will be
rough…but cherish it.
♦ Take the time to do all of the homework that you assign to students. Not
only will it help to prevent your making mistakes when you guide them,
but they will notice if you do everything that you expect them to do.
♦ Give feedback, detailed and as quickly as possible.
♦ Be willing to be taught yourself, by your co-workers, your students, and
♦ As appropriate, do everything possible to involve the parents in the education.
patient, and don’t judge.
♦ Establish structure and discipline in your room; don’t be afraid that your
students “won’t like you” if you are tough. They need your guidance.
But at the same time… Be flexible--most days, if not all, will bring
♦ Reflect on the improvements you need to make, but give yourself grace
and forgiveness to move forward.
If you practice these things now, you’ll be all the more prepared to
enter your classroom.
What job search tips would you
give to GCC students?
♦ Take advantage of the opportunities and services which Grove City
offers, and have an open mind to things outside of that sphere as well.
♦ Go to PERC. Even though I accepted a position from a non-GCC connection,
it was such a good experience, and I had several offers from schools
that I was in contact with after the event.
♦ Be willing to talk with
people, even if you aren’t sure that you would be interested in their
♦ Try to relax as much as possible during interviews. Looking over
preparation questions is a good idea, but don’t become consumed by them.
I remember my first interview at PERC—I felt so intimidated by the
interviewer and tried to give the textbook answers to things. It was
awful. After that, I went into interviews with much more of an open
mind, and answered each questions with the honest answer that I thought
♦ Be willing to talk and give details during interviews, most
places want to get a feel for who you are. If they do not think that you
would be a good fit, then chances are that you probably would not have
enjoyed working there either.
♦ Always visit a school before you make a decision about working there.
♦ Ask others what they think you should pursue after graduation; your
roommate, friends, family, and professors all may have good insights for
where you can best serve.
♦ I would recommend making a list of schools to which you want to apply,
making a bunch of copies of reference letters, clearances, résumés, and
final observation forms, and then putting together packets along with
cover letters and applications (fill out the PA standard app for public
schools) to mail out.
♦ Finally, don’t worry if you have no idea what you are going to be doing
after graduation—think about it, pray about it, but don’t stress!