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Featuring Sam Cohen '11

Position: General Science Teacher

School: Dallastown Area School District

Location: Dallastown, PA

(Profiled: December 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 found out about this job from a few different places all at the same time. I originally encountered the job opening on schoolspring.com and was working on an application when I received an email from the GCC Education Career Services department. It turns out that the science department chair at the high school was a Grove City College grad. He emailed the college looking for any new graduates.

 

What attracted you to this position?

Dallastown High School has a remarkable science department which is well known throughout the area. The school takes pride in providing the supplies and equipment needed to maintain a state-of-the-art science lab. They also take necessary steps in helping teachers to continue their education by providing free classes and reimbursement plans for graduate level courses. Aside from the school itself, I liked the locationin the suburbs of York, PA. It is not far from Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia which is nice if you ever want to go to the city for a day.

 

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

The best part of my job is observing the students as they grow throughout the year academically and socially. It is also thrilling to know that, on occasion, I can make even the slightest difference in a student's life.

 

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

To juggle. As a teacher, you have a billion different things to consider with every individual student. Did they have enough to eat this morning? Are they awake? Why didn't they do the homework that was assigned? Do they realize they are going to fail this class if they don't do this assignment? In the  meanwhile, I'm attempting to beg, borrow, and steal materials from other teachers.

 

Here's an example: As you are setting up for the lesson two days from now, you realize you need to take more time with class A on naming compounds while class B is ready to move on to something new. Class C thinks you are out of your mind for giving them a test that Class D thought was easy. Class E wants nothing to do with science and is upset that you rearranged assigned seats, while class F is not working to their full potential and regularly has 2-5 students absent on any given day... OH, and don't forget you have to make phone calls home, grade makeup tests, go to IEP meetings, grade assignments (for 115 students), and get observed by the administration. You have about 42 minutes each period, so you have to make it count.

 

The first year can be very overwhelming, but keep in mind that there are other teachers there to help you. Work with a mentor teacher and you will be fine.

 

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

The information I learned in the education psychology class has been extremely handy. On that note, there is not much any school can do to really prepare you for the education system. You can read as many books as you want about inner city kids and hear the most inspiring lectures about loving students, but nothing will prepare you like getting in a real classroom and working with real students (and I don't mean teaching your fellow Grovers). I had a wonderful cooperating teacher who allowed me to make mistakes in a real classroom setting and learn from them.

 

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

♦  Get a teaching internship now. It makes you more marketable and gives you good hands-on experience working with real students. (I’m thankful I interned with the Center for Talented Youth as a TA for a few summers.)

♦  Start collecting materials. Worksheets, books, test questions, and project ideas are great things to have in a filing cabinet somewhere. You'll use them eventually and this prep takes some of the stress out of acquiring new materials while teaching.

♦  Don't be afraid to make mistakes and try something new in your student teaching. A failed lesson is usually a successful learning experience.

♦  Don't sweat the small stuff. Trust God and he will provide.

 

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

♦  Use Schoolspring.com. They have a ton of different job openings listed throughout the nation.

♦  Keep all of your essay responses on file for your applications. Many school districts are using very similar application programs that ask the same questions. You will also need to scan EVERYTHING in as a PDF to submit applications (including letters of recommendation).

 

 

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Grove City College | 100 Campus Drive, Grove City, PA, 16127
PH: (724) 458-3397 |
2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014