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Job Search Handbook

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Featuring Sarah Jo Louzon '12

 

Certification: PA Elementary (Grades 1-6), NY Early Childhood (Birth-2nd)

Position: 1st Grade

School: PS 195, NYC Public Schools

Location: Bronx, NY

(Profiled: August 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 are the challenges and rewards of teaching in another culture?

How did you connect with this job opportunity?

Throughout my entire senior year (and the summer after), I researched NYC schools and called school after school. I hit lots of dead ends between phase-out schools, schools that weren't hiring, schools that didn't want to go through the hassle of switching my certification from PA to NY, or schools that were only hiring special ed teachers. Finally I heard back from ONE principal who offered me an interview and ended up hiring me on the spot in mid-August.

 

What attracted you to this position?

I've always felt called to teach in an urban public school, which is what inspired my NYC search for schools that were rated "developing" or "underdeveloped." I really didn't have any choice in which position to take (I was only offered first grade, at this particular school), but it worked out to be just what I was looking for.

 

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

The KIDS. It's a mystery to me how even after a long day of tough discipline, of Ms. Louzon losing her cool, of failed lessons or kids crying, my first graders still give me a hug at the end of the day.

There are also those moments when you see a student finally "get it." In my classroom, this might mean Diego saying, "Oooooohhhhhhh!" when the concept of base-10 blocks clicks in his mind, or it might mean DeCarlos saying, "I forgive you" to Mamounata after she apologized for stealing his crayon. As a teacher, you tell students something again and again and every once in a while you're lucky enough to see it sink in as their behavior or learning changes.

What are some of your challenges in this role?

80% of my school is Spanish-speaking, which means I interact with a lot of parents who don't speak any English. This has forced me to take risks and be humble as I communicate in not-fluent Spanish with them. It's been a great learning experience!  It's difficult, too, to have 30 students in one class with no classroom aide. 

 

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

Thanks to GCC field experiences and student teaching, I've had some sort of experience in every grade from PreK to Grade 6. This has really expanded my understanding of where students are coming from developmentally and where they're going (academic and otherwise). I've taken lots of practical things from GCC professors (Mrs. Dreves' KNT rule, Dr. Culbertson's phonics flashcards, and more) and from my student teaching co-ops (behavior charts, classroom procedures).

 

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

Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can! Look at other teachers' classrooms and procedures and think practically about what you'd like to implement in your future classroom. Also, be open-minded to teaching a grade you might otherwise not want to. You never really know if you like a grade/age until you try it for a year or so.

 

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

Be persistent, and don't lose heart. Also, talk to Mrs. Snyder--she has lots of connections and helpful, practical tips for portfolios, resumes, interviews. Make an appointment with her and attend the portfolio workshop!

 

What are the challenges and rewards of teaching in another culture?

 Teaching and living in the Bronx really takes me out of my comfort zone sometimes--it's very humbling to be the minority in regards to language and culture. It's exciting, too, as I'm more able to relate to my students since I live in their community.

 

 

 

 

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