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Featuring Laura Willby '00


Position: Math and French Teacher
School: Penn Trafford High School
Location: Harrison City, PA
Certification: Math 7-12, and French K-12
Graduate School: IUP
Graduate Program:  Masters in Education
(Profiled: May 2013)

♦  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?

  What influenced your decision to go to graduate school?

♦  How did you explore graduate school?



How did you connect with this job opportunity?

I am a graduate of Penn-Trafford High School, and I took over as a long term sub for my former French teacher when she went on maternity leave.  I was observed by someone in central administral while subbing, and they hired me full time for the following school year. 


What attracted you to this position?

I was attractedto this school because it was my alma mater and I knew the building, the teachers, the people and it is in my hometown.


What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

It is gratifying to teach math and French classes (at least up until this year) especially because people always told me I’d never have that opportunity, that I’d have to choose one or the other.  I know my job is also my vocation; I’m right where God wants me to be.


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

I think I had to realize that not all students are like I was when I was a student.  So I really had to adjust my expectations.  It’s a balancing act because you don’t want to set your expectations so low that your students aren’t challenged, but you don’t want to set them so high that students see them as unattainable.  So in order to find that balance you have to be willing to adjust – thinking on your feet becomes really important!


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

My time at GCC prepared me for teaching in a spiritual way.  I had a lot of professors who were really great role models as people and as teachers.  I learned that teaching was something God was calling me to do, not just a career.  I learned to model my role as a teacher after Jesus the Master Teacher (thanks, Dr. Mackey).  I also had a lot of support from my math professors, especially Dr. McIntyre, Dr. Thompson and Mr. Dean. 


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

You have to realize that your first year of teaching is going to be a learning experience and you are going to be far from perfect.  Lessons will not go the way you think they should.  It’s okay to admit thatjust reflect on the positives and negatives and make notes to yourself about how you can improve for next year.  Then, realize that next year isn’t going to be perfect either but understand you will keep getting better.  Don’t be afraid to try new things even though some will fail miserably.  That’s how you learn.  Be humble enough to accept and seek out advice from other teachers.   Finally, maintain a balance between work and things you enjoy doing outside of work.  If you teach all day and then go home and work on lessons or grade papers all evening after work, you will burn out.  Maintain your hobbies, even if it means putting off some work for a day.  I became a runner once I started teaching and I enjoy running after school.  It helps me to clear my head, work out some stress and feel refreshed.


What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to look for a job, I’m not aware of all of the online resources available for job searching, so I’m probably not the person to ask about this, but I can tell you to pray about it!

 

What influenced your decision to go to graduate school?  My decision was mainly a practical one.  Just knowing I had a few years to earn more credits and obtain my Level II certification, I found a Master’s program that interested me, and my friend and I decided to do it together.


How did you explore graduate school? 
I found out about the program through a friend and looked into it further on my own.  (Sorry, nothing earth-shattering to report here.)

 



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PH: (724) 458-3397 |
2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014