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Teacher Interview
Posted on Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Teacher Interview

This piece was written with the intention of informing pre-service teachers about a career in education.

I am sure you have been asked this question at least a dozen times, but what made you decide to become a teacher? They say it is cliché to respond with how much you love kids, or how you want to make a difference in kids’ lives. But isn’t that just the honest truth? Only educators who truly have a passion for teaching can understand, but we truly love kids, down to the core of who we are. It’s more than just a wanting to help them; it’s an innate desire within us that just yearns to teach.

I have answered a variety of questions below in order to provide you with some additional insight on the life of a teacher.

What is a typical day like for you as a teacher?
I get to school every day between 7:30-8:00am, depending on if I have a meeting. I complete last-minute tasks that are needed to be finished before I start teaching, check my email, and set up the front board and SMARTBoard for the day. If I have a meeting, I get to school earlier and complete these things before the meeting. Once a week I have duty in the cafeteria before school, so I supervise the students there before school. Once school begins, the day takes off and there never seems to be a dull moment. My class has P.E. daily and a specials class each day for four days out of the week. When my students are gone, I answer emails, grade students’ work, and/or prepare materials for later that day or the next day. During lunch and recess, I typically work for the first half of the time and then eat with my co-workers during the second half. After school I prepare materials for the next day and finish answering emails. Twice a week I tutor a former student after school, and some days, I have a meeting to attend.

What types of leadership and/or professional development activities do you take on?
I am a CARES case manager, so I assist with problem solving how to help students who are receiving interventions but not making progress. I help their teachers complete paperwork and run the team meetings about these students. Next, I am part of the district’s committee that is writing our new report card using standards-based grading. We are researching standards-based grading systems, designing the new report card and assessment rubrics for the district, and piloting the system. I also work on my school’s literacy committee to plan and implement literacy initiatives for teachers and students. Finally, I am working on my master’s degree in reading from Illinois State University.

Do you have any special needs students in your classroom? If so, how does that impact your teaching?
Each grade level has one or two classrooms that serve as the special education cluster. This is my first year with the cluster. I have students who have Individualized Education Plans that include minutes with the teaching assistant and minutes with the special education teacher. I work closely with the special education teacher to discuss the weekly lesson plans and decide how to make appropriate modifications and accommodations for the students based on these plans. I also work closely with the teaching assistants to help ensure we are on the same page with working with the students. My class is very supportive of our students with special needs and these students blend right in with the group. 

How do you integrate technology into your classroom?
My students enjoy using technology as often as possible in the classroom. My classroom website serves as a “home-base” where l post nightly homework, website links, weekly newsletters, etc. We utilize a variety of websites in all subject areas. Two of the websites we use most often are www.mobymax.com and www.ixl.com. Students complete differentiated, leveled activities during math workshop stations and in reader’s workshop. Students also have weekly homework assignments on these websites. Our classroom blog, developed through www.kidblog.com, serves as a place for students to write about what they are reading and share their writing pieces with one another. I use the website www.classdojo.com as the foundation for our behavior management system. Students each have an avatar that can gain and lose points for behaviors, and the data is stored and visible to teachers and parents. The website www.gonoodle.com is used frequently for daily brain breaks.

What is the evaluation process like for non-tenured teachers?
Teachers can earn tenure after four years of teaching in Unit 5. If you are non-tenured, you receive two formal observations and two informal observations from your principal. The teacher documents the evidence of their teaching practice using a form designed after the Charlotte Danielson model. The teacher meets with the principal after each formal observation. In March, the teacher receives a final rating for their overall performance that school year. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is finding the time to balance the district mandates, planning for instruction, grading, and professional development activities. There are so many factors that contribute to a well-rounded educational system, and it can be difficult to give the right amount of time to each one.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is not only when students make growth, but when they can recognize that growth and describe how they made it happen. I have made it a priority for my students to have ownership of their learning and I have worked hard to develop routines and activities that foster this. 

This was posted by Miss Pocic in the General Information category.

Welcome to our classroom blog!
Posted on Monday, August 26, 2013

I am so excited to use this website as a means for communication and discussion about our classroom happenings. There will always be one weekly post that serves as our weekly newsletter containing our learning targets, upcoming events, classroom news, and important reminders. There will be occasional posts for updates and reminders between the weekly newsletter posts.

Students will use the Class Discussion feature each week to respond to a question or prompt about what they are reading as part of their weekly homework assignment.  Students will be able to read and comment on their classmates’ posts. This feature is password-protected and can only be viewed by the members of our classroom. Students will learn proper blogging etiquette before beginning these assignments and will be expected to follow these guidelines each time they post an entry or make a comment.

I am looking forward to all the ways this website will enhance our classroom this year!  

This was posted by Miss Pocic in the General Information category.