Elementary School Teacher Job Description:
I have 21 children in my grade one class and it is my job to educate them. My particular board has also placed an emphasis on daily physical activity and character development. About 80% on my time, though, is spent on reading, writing and math. We are technologically ahead as we use a new piece of equipment called a smart board or white board. This is a 5-foot-by-5-foot board that is connected to a computer and is sensitive to touch. Children can move things on the board etc. as it actually becomes a live screen and replaces the black board.
Much of my time has been devoted to developing software to work on this board. We also have a computer lab that interacts with the white board. As I move things by hand on the board it will move on their computer screens. Many of my lessons can be interacted with by children at home. My class web page has over 400 pages of interactive material , programs and games for the primary child and is an excellent resource for primary teachers. It is called Room 108.
Can you describe your elementary school teacher career ladder?
I started while in high school working on a Music Degree. I completed this privately and received an ARCT degree in Piano from the University of Toronto. First, I went into pre-med, but didn't get in. I finished a Bachelor of Science degree in three years. I then completed my Bachelor of Education Degree in a year.
I really never wanted to be a teacher. At first, I was accepted into Chiropractor College, but decided against it and made my mind up within a week to be a teacher. I started as a high school teacher and hated it. I then tried grade seven and eight and hated that even more. In desperation, I tried grade one and loved it. The attitudes in the children are so different.
While performing the duties of an elementary school teacher, can you recall any humorous moments?
I remember my first day in grade one, when a child said they didn't have a pencil. I asked if anyone had an extra pencil. Another child gave them their pencil. Shortly, that child said they didn't have an pencil. I asked again if anyone had an extra pencil. This cycle kept repeating itself till I figured out that the children didn't know what '"extra" meant and were simply giving up their one and only pencil each time.
What are the benefits of becoming an elementary school teacher?
There is probably not more than a couple of seconds where a child does not have their hand up asking a question. Children at this age love attention and nurturing. They are filled with wonder, but you are going all the time. Unlike working with teenagers though, they are usually very positive and full of love and kindness towards their teacher. You don't have any confrontations.
Being a male teacher, I feel I am meeting such a need. Many children do not have a male in their life. When you think that 50% of families end in divorce and custody usually goes to the female, many children do not have a male in their life. In my board of over 400 teachers, I am the only male teacher I know of teaching grade one. I really believe I have had an effect on children's lives and it has been very satisfying.
Any advice for those interested in becoming an elementary school teacher?
It's a great job for security and good pay. The holidays are great and there is a tremendous ability to change lives. When life is over you don't really leave much behind you except the lives that were changed (by you). Children learn by what you do, not by what you say. Teaching is about changing lives and is more than just a job. If you find you like working with kids, elementary teaching might be for you. If kids drive you crazy, then maybe it's not for you.
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