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Job Search Handbook

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Featuring Jennifer Hilterman '12

 

 

Position: Math Teacher

School: The Outdoor Academy

Location: Pisgah Forest, NC

Certification: Mathematics Secondary Education

(Profiled: February 2014)

 

♦  How did you connect with this job opportunity?

♦  What attracted you to this position?

♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

♦  What 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?

One of my classmates sent me a link online during my senior year. I applied for a teaching position, but did not get the job. The next year I connected with them again and mentioned that I had applied the year before.


What attracted you to this position?

I was struggling with the idea of being a teacher because I did not want to be stuck inside four walls. I first got introduced to the idea of teaching through one of my first jobs as a snowboard instructor. I really enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and backpacking. This job allows me to blend my training as a math teacher with my passion for the outdoors. I also get to play more of a mentor role to my students. Since this is a semester boarding school, I really get to know my students and even spend some time in the dorms. After being an RA at GCC, I have enjoyed working in the dorm life.  I often hold class outside, and since this is an independent school, I have a lot of freedom in what I teach and how I teach. This school is very focused on living in community well. I work with very skilled outdoor educators as well as academic educators. I could see that this was a position where I could learn a lot and grow more as an educator myself. I also get to go on backpacking, climbing, camping, and paddling trips with the students.

 

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

As a teacher, the “ah-ha!” moments are, of course, the most gratifying. Getting feedback from students is incredibly gratifying. One student said that I was able to tie God into math in a way no other teacher had before. Another student said he had discovered a love for math. Those moments are awesome! It is also wonderful when I have a breakthrough with a student as a mentor. Usually there is something that suddenly brings us closer and opens the door for great conversations.

What was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
I had a really hard time having the confidence to tell parents that I know what I’m doing. When parents would question the homework load, the curriculum, or a student’s grade, I could not refer them to years of successful teaching.


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

Having dedicated, godly professors both in my math and education classes provided me with good examples to model after. I have taken on many of Dr. McIntyre’s teaching mannerisms. The Math Methods class gave me many items to put in my “bag of tricks” that I still use quite often. I have referenced those notes as well as my Math for Secondary Education notes often. Occasionally I find myself referencing notes and tests from other math classes. The study habits and organizational methods I developed by persevering through heavy course loads has made the first year bearable and even enjoyable.


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

Save your notes and resources from your classes. Ask to get involved in as many things as possible during student teaching. I know it seems overwhelming and impossible, but it will set you up for success wherever you go. Try different things during student teaching. That is the time to do it. During your first or second year, you will have too many other things to juggle.

 

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

The more effort you put into your portfolio on an ongoing basis, the better things will be for job searching for the first and even the second year. Employers really are impressed with portfolios and tri-folds. Education Career Services know what they are doing so visit them early and often! Choose a phone call over an email when you can. I know some of my employers have been impressed by a handwritten thank-you note after interviews as well. When choosing a position, give careful attention to who your supervisor is. Working with great colleagues, and especially a great supervisor, will make or break that job experience. The interview is also you interviewing the supervisor to some extent.

 

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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: August 2014