Miss. Varney 5th grade math

Mentor Information

PEA (Union) Rep for our building, Facilitator/Recorder of TBT’s (Teacher Based Team meetings)

There are a lot of other things Miss. Varney likes to volunteer with. The only thing that stops her is depending on what time they come, how long it will be and what she already has going on.

Growing up, she always liked school and to work with kids. She mentions and is 100% right, a lot of kids need a good mentor and someone who cares.

She has always been 5th grade math for Piqua. After graduating in December, she did a lot of subbing, which included being a long term intervention position in Piqua. That is one of many reasons that helped her get the 5th grade math position.

Nature of the Job

Everyday begins with homeroom, and then she teaches one period of flex which is an intervention/enrichment period. Her second period is planning. And then to start the day officially, with teaching 4 classes in a row of math. In between those 4 classes, lunch falls in the middle of the second math class. The day ends with afternoon homeroom and dismissal duty.

Miss. Varney tends to have a lot of tasks she has to complete during this time. She has a lot of planning to do, with tracking math intervention for her flex class, and delivering math lessons. Also, planning, creating and administering assessments.

It is important to input grades, attendance, comments, work habits, etc. for Progress Reports and Interims. Classroom management is a major thing as well, because all 5th grader enjoy rewards. If they know that a reward is coming, instead of being punished, they tend to act better.

Along with all of that, she has meeting that she has to attend. Which includes, Math TBT meetings, Co-Teaching meetings and various other meetings.

She has roughly 75 students this year. This is lower than I’m used to. I had more like 90-100 in previous years. I see all in one day.

The time at school is never enough to get everything done. You have plan time, but this is often interrupted by meetings and other needs. She does most of her preparation and grading after school or at home. On average, Miss. Varney is at school from about 8 to 5. I try not to take more home than she has to so she tends to stay longer instead.

There’s a lot more to assessing learning than your typical grades. There are so many formative assessments that are less formal, but just as valuable when it comes to knowing each student’s growth and needs. For example, she uses a roster on a clipboard to make immediate notes during lessons on whether or not a student is gaining mastery. Exit tickets and end of lesson practice time let’s her know how students are performing before the next lesson. Which by doing that, allows her to adjust as needed for individual students and entire classes. Adjustments are always being made, even during lessons. Those adjustments are some of the most important because students need immediate changes if they aren’t understanding.

Education and Skills

Miss. Varney attended, Bowling Green State University. She received a Bachelor's Degree of Arts and Sciences: Middle Childhood Educations attached with Math and Science. She is licensed with 4-9 math, science, and reading.

During the interview, she listed more than enough advice for working in the classroom;

1. Classroom management workshops and seminars are extremely helpful. You want to have a lot of tricks up your sleeve because one year to the next and one student to the next can be so different. Even the different classes you have throughout the day will need you to manage differently. Courses specifically geared toward ways to teach your specific content are also very helpful. The more ideas and resources the better!

2. Having a positive attitude and willingness to work hard without giving up. It can be a VERY demanding and sometimes negative career, but it is SO rewarding in many ways. You have to be able to remember why you chose it and what the goal is. Keep an optimistic outlook. Organization is also very important. Even organized chaos is still organized.

3. Being kind and respect the opinions or ideas of others. Everyone has a way they like to do things, but no one has all the answers. You can’t be just for yourself. You have to be a team player. The people you work with will be your biggest support!

4. No one gets into teaching for the money. It’s about the kids. Keep their best interest at heart. A wise teacher once told me “take care of the kids and they’ll take care of you”. This doesn’t mean they will always listen and not drive you crazy, but they will definitely let you know they value you in their own way.

5. You learn a lot in college, or it’s at least a place to start. You get ideas, go through all of the getting your license hoops, gain resources, get out there in the classroom as a student teacher….. But the real learning begins when you are in your own classroom or in charge of a classroom. There is certainly a TON of experiential learning going on!

To begin with, she felt clueless of everything going on. It was almost a bit of a shock at first. There’s just so much that people outside of the education world don’t know. She wishes she would have had a more realistic idea of what being a teacher was like.

She wishes she could go back to subbing or tutoring. I know some teachers that stopped teaching in order to create educational resources or to teach future teachers at the college level.

I had to take the PRAXIS II exams in order to get my Resident Educator 4-year license. Then after completing the Resident Educator Program she was given my professional renewable license. Now. she has to get professional development hours, get more college credit hours, etc. in order to renew the license in five years. Some of these come through the school, but not enough. You have to find other seminars and PD events on your own.

Working Conditions and Benefits

It’s hard, but you have to try to keep work separate and give your personal life the time and energy it deserves. Otherwise, the stress of the job can strain it also. Once you find a good balance you are good.

Her starting salary was about $35,000 and now she is at about $43,000. Which is honestly higher than a lot of other districts.

You can take on supplementals such as coaching and earn money in addition to coaching. Benefits are good so you don’t have to pay as much for insurance, copays, etc.

As well, it is possible to get your master’s degree in something pertaining to educational leadership or administration and become an administrator.

One of her greatest satisfactions as a teacher is knowing that she makes a major difference in her kids’ lives. When they draw me pictures or write me notes, the kids who don’t leave without a hug or saying goodbye, the ones that come back to visit… those are the things that make everything worth it!

Miss. Varney would take out everything that doesn’t matter and takes up time from the things that would really be beneficial for the kids. She feels like a lot of my time is being wasted on things that don’t make the positive impacts the kids need.


Take your time to really learn the ins and outs of the career before making your final decision. Get as much in-class time and involvement as possible. If you aren’t doing it for the kids and their learning, don’t do it.

The challenge of keeping my morale up when there are so many aspects that make you feel like you can never do enough.

Government mandated testing and observations.

Social and economic conditions have a huge impact. It’s hard to make students learn when they are hungry and distracted by their life at home that they return to everyday after school. Some students are not taught values, morals, discipline, etc. at home. That creates challenges in the classroom.

Created By
Madison Curtner


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