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Featuring Michelle Wengerd '10
Position: 1st Grade Teacher
School: Stonewall Elementary School, Frederick County Public Schools
Location: Frederick County, Virginia
(Profiled: November 2011)

♦  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 actually grew up in Frederick County, Virginia. I looked all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland for a job while I was at home. My mom kept pushing me to look at Fairfax County Public Schools, but I was hesitant to teach where I went to school. I wanted to see different places, and explore other options. Now I’m really thankful for it. I encourage you to not be resistant to working near home.

Also, the principal and administration of my school really valued that I grew up here and was looking for a job here. One of the people that interviewed me was my third grade teacher.

What attracted you to this position?
I just really felt comfortable here and with the people that I met in my interview. There was a connection, and I could see myself working here. My niche is the primary grades, and so I was interested in the first grade opening they had as well.

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
I love seeing the growth in the students! First graders make a tremendous amount of growth from entering school not being able to read and leaving with the ability to read chapter books. It’s amazing to see them get so excited about their improvement as well.

What was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
The courses that I took at Grove City College prepared me well, and I learned fantastic methods to become an excellent teacher. However, as a first-year teacher there are many realities that often surprise you. It was frustrating to know that I could be a better teacher than I was but lacking the time or energy to be that. You don’t really know what it’s like until you experience it, but with each year you are able to implement more and try new things that allow you to become an even better teacher.

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
It’s interesting going to professional development here. Most of what we talk about or learn in professional development I’ve already learned through the courses I had at GCC. My classes really kept me informed of the latest theories, methods, and issues in the education field today.

What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
I wish that I had a broader knowledge of children’s literature.
Be honest with yourself, you’re not going to be perfect your first year. The earlier you can accept that, the better.

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
I made those mini portfolios which were really helpful. I mailed them along with some of my applications. When I was interviewing, they helped me stay on task and reference specific things in my interview. Principals really liked looking at them.

After I submitted my application, I called the principal to let him know that I was interested. School districts receive lots of applications and have to quickly sort through all of them. I called the secretary and asked to speak to the principal just to let him know about my interest in the job. Not all principals might like that, but he appreciated it.
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2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: January 2014