Pros: numerous & various opportunities for professional development.
Cons: limited planning time and not much balance or breaks in the daily schedule.
During my five years with Gwinnett County Public Schools, I had the opportunity to teach 5th grade (at Craig Elementary) with a partner teacher -- we both taught reading, spelling, grammar, writing, and math, but our classes switched for science (my classroom) and social studies (her classroom). Fifth grade was the year of the statewide writing assessment, – more... so there was a strong focus on preparing students to be successful & accomplished writers. We created a classroom rotation of "workshops" for students to attend at the beginning of each day that focused first on writing skills & the writing process, and then on math skills & strategies. I was responsible for one class of math intervention with 10 students, all of whom passed math on the state-wide, end-of-year assessment. I designed, maintained, and sent a classroom newsletter once per week to communicate with parents/guardians on curriculum plans, calendar highlights, and classroom goals & accomplishments. In my final three years in the district, I taught 4th grade on a seven-teacher grade level at W.C. Britt Elementary, which was a Title I school the last two years I was there. At this school, I attended an extensive training session for teaching classes along with an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language) teacher in a pull-out teaching model. During my five years with Gwinnett County Public Schools, I attended various & numerous workshops, professional development sessions, and committee meetings, during which I learned an immeasurable amount of information related to teaching strategies, technology tools, newly established programs or areas of emphasis, computer-based interventions, and in-depth explorations of the AKS (Academic Knowledge & Skills) curriculum base utilized by Gwinnett County Schools, along with the academic standards required by the state of Georgia. A typical day at work as an elementary teacher included: writing lesson plans; teaching lessons in math, reading (including small, homogeneous reading groups), writing, spelling, social studies, and science; creating or researching for teaching materials; intervening & communicating with students re: disruptive behavior or disharmonious relationships with peers; establishment & use of various classroom-management strategies to minimize off-task behavior, reward good behavior, and provide consequences for negative behavior; administering and grading all assessments; grading assignments & homework; attending all meetings (with grade-level team as well as with school staff) & professional development sessions (mostly taking place during our planning time 3-4 times per week); preparing for & conducting all parent-teacher conferences, formal & informal; reviewing & reporting all grades before & during Report Card publications; organizing, cleaning, re-stocking, and generally managing the classroom learning environment; communicating several times per day (on an as-needed basis) with colleagues, grade-level teammates, and parents/guardians; and maintaining a productive working relationship with English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) teachers, literacy specialists, speech teachers, Specials teachers, Special Education teachers, counselors, office staff, and administrators. Most of my colleagues & teammates at each school were supportive & enjoyed collaborating on lesson-plan creation, student projects, and innovative approaches to lessons in any academic subject. The hardest part of my job: attending meetings during my 45-minute planning time (as a result, needing to plan & prepare for lessons and grade papers only before & after school and at home) as well as having lunch-room duty each day with our grade level to monitor classroom behavior during lunch (no duty-free lunch). The most enjoyable part of my job: learning & executing new strategies and working with all students on various ability levels and being a part of their success as a learner! Established my teaching philosophy during this time: Every teacher is a learner... and every learner is a teacher! – less