How did you connect with this job
What attracted you to this
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
What job search tips would you
give to GCC students?
I completed my
special education practicum at SCS last school year after getting married
and moving to eastern PA. This past summer, a position in middle school
language arts opened, and God blessed me with the opportunity to be in
Christian education again full-time.
The people of SCS
are phenomenal. The atmosphere of a fun, academically-centered, Christian
education where the people are like family was key. It reminded me of the
GCC campus atmosphere.
I still, after
all these years of teaching, love those "light-bulb moments" with
students, and I get so excited when those who may struggle the most
finally "get it." Also, laughing with kids and helping them to laugh at
themselves relaxes a classroom environment, no matter their academic
levels. Getting paid to do what I love is just a bonus.
challenge as a first-year teacher, back in 2000 at a Christian school in
Ohio, was just learning to balance life with teaching as I am, as most
"Grovers" are, an over-achiever who must learn to balance work and
family/friends. It's still a challenge as I balance work with being
married and a parent.
My years at GCC
prepared me for the teaching field in giving me real-life experiences in
the area schools, allowing me time to talk with my professors and dear
Mrs. Fields (our education office secretary at the time) to get their
expertise, and inspiring me with service-opportunities and friendships
upon which to build for my career.
CONSISTENCY Be consistent. Whatever you're doing, whether it's
grading, disciplining, coaching, or teaching: be consistent. Kids
appreciate the consistency, as well as administrators and parents. It's
also best to begin the year a bit more strict than soft; it's always
easier to get "nicer" than have to pull the switch and buckle down (for
you elementary teachers, remember the book's message of Miss Nelson is
In addition, learn to network and help make the secretaries, school
nurses, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, and other employees at the
school your allies. That was Dr. Bussel's advice to us in the late 90s at
GCC. It still holds true today. Those are the great people to appreciate
and who will be first to help you. A little kindness goes a long way
wherever you may be.
3. COMMUNICATION The
same stands true with parents: be certain to let them know you're on a
team together to help their child be the best they can be. It also helps
if there's ever a question of a situation between you and your students
for the parents to be able to think the best of you, and vice versa.
Pray for wisdom, and seek wise counsel. Don't think you're "all that, and
a bag of chips" as I like to say to my students; humility is critical to
teaching. You're going to make a lot of mistakes, so be real with the
students, ready to forgive one another as you all learn together being
"life-long-learners," as Dr. Mackey encouraged us to be while he was at
discouraged easily! There are going to be interviews you think go well,
and that you may never hear about again. The interview doesn't determine
your value as a teacher or as a person. You may have to work as a substitute (even for
several years as I did in Ohio), but you must see it as an opportunity to
learn and/or as a mission field of being obedient to where God wants you
to be for His reasons, and not our own. You will learn so much
more about yourself and life if you struggle, rather than land the perfect
big-district teaching job right out of your undergraduate education.
More information about
Heather's graduate school experience
Back to Alumni Profiles