What is your typical day like from start to finish?
He gets to school about 45 minutes early. He eats breakfast and makes coffee for the staff. He organizes his materials and makes any copies he needs to make for the day. At 7:15, the students are released for walk around time. He has hall duty until 7:40. His plan period is first, so he gathers materials, grades papers, answers emails and does whatever is needed to be ready for the kids. He then teaches 6 sections of the exact same material. He has a break in the middle of the day for Advisory and lunch. Other than that break, he puts on the same show 6 times everyday. He leaves at 3 or a little after.
What are the major tasks of your position?
Keeping kids safe.Planning meaningful lessons. Executing those lessons with fairness and precision. Making about 10,000 (seriously, there are studies to back up this number) decisions about a variety of things that make lessons meaningful, keep 25 kids safe, and provide them a learning environment conducive to their success. Grading papers and keeping student records. Communicating with kids, parents and administrators. Keeping about a gazillion papers in order. Loving kids. Giving 110% of his soul to his craft and his content.
What other staff members ( certified or classified) do you consult to help with reaching your students?
Members of the academic team, guidance counselors, school psychologists, Intervention specialists and assistants, secretaries, custodians, related arts teachers, members of his department.
How are you required to adhere to state or national education-related policies
His lessons are based on the school board adopted course of study which is basically the standards designed for his grade level and content by the state board of education. Those standards are based on national policy including common core standards. He is also bound by state and federal law to adhere to students' individualized education plan (IEP's) and 504 plans for special needs students.
How many degrees do you have?
He has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Social Studies education, Master's in the Art of Teaching, and Master's of American History and Government.
What personal qualities and/or skills are necessary to be successful in your position?
Flexibility! Communication. Organization. Personality. Empathy. Passion for kids and subject. Sense of humor including the ability to laugh at yourself.
What interpersonal skills do you find most important? Why?
Empathy and passion. You have to love your subject and know your subject and have a deep desire to share your passion for that subject, but you can also never forget you are dealing with kids. Kids who do not come from the same background or who have the same values and upbringing that you do. Some days they don't need you to be passionate about your content as much as they need you to be passionate about loving them and providing a safe environment for them so they can just survive the day.
What do you wish you knew about teaching before you became a teacher?
How much it hurts to love your kids and your subject so much and want them to succeed only to have them cut you to the core with a horribly mean comment or a betrayal of epic proportions after you go out on a limb for them.
How does a person in your position become licensed?
It depends on the laws of the state, but usually a bachelor's degree and some testing of some sort to meet initial requirements. Then you have to participate in a resident educator program to build a portfolio and evidence that you are ready and able to continue your career. There is a lack of respect for teachers that had gone away but is coming back that will allow non-licensed teachers to teach in Ohio classrooms as long as they have some sort of life experience in the subject they teach.
What is your greatest satisfaction as a teacher?
He calls them the "aha" moments when you see the look in a kids eyes when they finally put together what you have been teaching. Sometimes it's a simple concept, but the best moments are when that aha moment is about the life lessons and life skills you have been teaching and hoping sink in.
If you could, what would you change about your job?
It's selfish, but I would have a personal secretary to run copies, grade papers, and do all the paperwork required so I can focus on the content and just taking care of the best part of teaching which is the actual teaching and interacting with kids.
What advice do you have to those interested in teaching?
Don't do it for June, July and August. Don't teach for money. Teach because you are passionate about it. Teach because it's noble. Teach because what you do matters and makes a difference. Teach because you love it. Teach because it calls out to you. Teach because you can't imagine being happy doing anything else. teach because you love kids and want to help them. Go all in even though you know it's going to be tough sometimes. Give your all everyday because even though they may not say it or show it, there is at least one kid out there who needs you more than you will ever know. Go all in because those kids deserve the best of you even if they don't appreciate it now. Go all in because it's stupid and selfish to be average when you were born to be great!