BEING AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER: REAL-WORLD TIPS AND by kris olds

By kris olds

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Job Description and Insights I teach elementary school at a local public school. I am responsible for teaching about twenty third graders. I get to school about thirty to forty-five minutes before the bell rings. I make sure I have the papers and materials ready for the day, check my box for any new information, make sure there are pencils sharpened and that everything is ready for the students to come in. I prepare the lesson plans according to the state curriculum guidelines, and do my best to integrate the lessons in order to teach all the material in ways the students 57 are interested in.

I teach all subject areas, with an emphasis on fifth grade language arts and mathematics. On a typical day I teach all subjects to students in a variety of groupings. Activities can vary from direct instruction to whole class demonstrations to independent work time. I am responsible for all disciplinary issues that occur in my classroom, as well as daily parent contact, recess duty, updating my (teacher) web site, etc. 62 In addition to classroom duties, I provide after-school help as needed, run the student council (along with two other teachers), attend all mandatory curriculum and staff meetings, and work on a committee to improve our district's writing program.

Lunch. After lunch, I teach science or a social studies lesson for 45 minutes and try to fit in a literature circle. I run to specials afterwards, try to conference with parents and make phone calls and squeeze in a trip to the bathroom. I pick up kids from specials, teach math, go over concepts from the day; review them and assign 40 homework, check students' agendas and give them a behavior grade for the day. I also record any notes to parents and missing homework in agendas. At length, I pack up and take students to recess.

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