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Featuring Joe Wengerd '10

 

 

Position: Alternative Education Middle School English Teacher

School: Frederick County Public Schools

Location: Winchester, VA

Certification: English Secondary Education

Information on Joe's Graduate School Experience

(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?

I connected with this job opportunity after interviewing multiple times within the Frederick County Public Schools system.  My wife, Michelle, grew up in the area and had already secured a position as a first grade teacher at Stonewall Elementary School.


What attracted you to this position?

As a new teacher, I was happy to receive a job doing what I love anywhere. This particular position attracted me because I work with students who have not done well in the regular school and need an alternative environment to succeed. 

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?

Many of my students are extremely smart but come from homes and communities that do not encourage academic pursuits. Because of that, many of my students have not worked to achieve their fullest potentials in the past. When we are able to influence a student to make positive life changes and put forth their best efforts, it is an amazing transformation to witness. Also, any time students say that they never liked reading before my class is a gratifying experience. Finally, we get to take students on trips to do activities and have experiences that they may never have otherwise. These times spent opening new horizons to students is priceless. 

What was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
As a first-year teacher, the greatest challenge is creating lessons and units that teach students appropriately. I have always heard that the first three years of teaching are chaotic, and those people are right. Those years are still gratifying and exciting, but it is hard to find a comfort zone. Now in my fourth year, I feel much more comfortable with my teaching materials and methods. 


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

Grove City teaches the importance of putting forth your best effort in order to succeed, and that carries through into adult life.


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

My first piece of advice is to find balance in your professional and personal life. Make time for things that you enjoy aside from school and know that your fulfillment from those experiences will help the class environment you create. Also, focus on creating classroom routine at the beginning of the year. It pays huge dividends later on in the year. 

 

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

Be willing to relocate for a job. Moving away from home is definitely a challenge, but it has its rewards. Also, applying to large school divisions (like the county-wide systems in Virginia) makes the job search much easier. By applying in Frederick County, my one application made me eligible for 3 high schools, 4 middle schools, and 1 alternative school. 

 

More information on Joe's Graduate School experience!

 

 

 

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Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014