At first, any job sounded good when I was searching. However, I
prefered to be in an elementary classroom. There were many retirements
from Moon Area, so I used that opportunity to advertise myself and tell
them I wanted the job since I had multiple qualificiations and
experiences with children.
I find gratification in many ways with my job. Every teacher should
find joy at the times when you see the kids "get it" and their brains
make the connection to the material. It's great to hear the "ahs" and
see that smile and confidence pour through. Also, the school I work in
(Allard Elementary) has an atmosphere unlike any other school I have
known. My coworkers are a fun, passionate group who have many of the
same goals and desires as I do. It is extrememly gratifying to work in
an uplifiting place.
The biggest challenge at first is time management with completing
lessons according to a schedule but also making sure the kids master the
objectives. It gets better with each day, but having a scope and
sequence and working with a mentor is a tremendous help. The hardest
part with each year though is knowing to "expect the unexpected" with
parents. There is a vast array of home life situations, comments they
will make, concerns they will have, and support (or lack of) with each
new school year. Remember, you will make a difference in the lives of
children, so do not get discouraged.
I felt exremely prepared for graduate school after my years at
GCC. The workload did not seem overwhelming (after attending Grove
City), and I was up-to-date on research in the education field and
common/best practices. I appreciated having multiple times to
enter/teach in the classroom since freshman year, as this is not the
case at other schools.
I would say the most important thing is organization. Have a set place
for important documents, student folders, daily activities, parent
notes, and homework. Getting the kids into a routine from day 1 will
really help the smoothness of transitions and classroom management.
Also, make sure to keep the kids moving whether you are doing jumping
jacks and counting by 10s, singing a rhyme, or stretching with
synonyms. Brains do better when they are active, so don't forget to
have some fun! You will enjoy it, and the kids will love it!
Never give up! Make a name for yourself, deliver papers in person, keep
in contact with building principals, make a point to get observed when
you are substitute teaching, and don't be afraid to do something in the
non-traditional route. Get experience and have confidence!
More information about
Lauren's graduate school experience
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