Posted May 17, 2012 by

Interview With A Teacher

I am a high school English teacher dually certified in Special Education for grades 7-12. I have worked in this field for the past three years.

As an English teacher for sophomores and juniors, I prepare lessons in the study of literature and NYS Regents Prep while accommodating students with both learning and emotional disabilities. A common misunderstanding is that my job ends at 2:30 p.m. every day. The truth is I stay after school to help with after school activities and grading, and usually end up bringing work home with me on a nightly basis.

Currently, my job satisfaction is about a 6. My district is currently going through a slight financial crisis which has resulted in layoffs and major reduction of funds to the classroom. I love my job and I enjoy working with young people; therefore, I am sure my enthusiasm would reach the max if the political and financial hurdles were not an ever-present issue.

Teaching is definitely my calling. The job is extremely rewarding. There is nothing like seeing students you have worked with for years show growth, and thank you for causing great changes in their lives. When I see my students gain an appreciation for literature, relate to a character, or identify with an author I know I have done my job.

When considering my accomplishments I believe there is something unique about my particular situation in that most teachers have degrees only in Education. I felt that I should go a step further, and get master’s degrees in both Education and English. Doing so has definitely helped me in terms of landing a teaching position in a difficult job market, and the second master’s degree made me more marketable in terms of where I fit in on the pay scale.

I originally started working as the manager of children’s literature at a major book retailer. I soon realized that my calling was not only to sell literature, but teach it as well.

I have learned that the education field is a very difficult one to be in. With the economy in the shape that it is currently in, teachers like me face a job loss every year. As a young teacher, I have been told every year since I started that my job was in jeopardy. There are very few jobs in the education field available, and the competition is fierce. This type of negativity can take its toll on a person, and create extremely high levels of stress.

The single most important thing I have learned outside the classroom is that college does not prepare you entirely. You learn by experience, outside research, and through those who have been in the field longer than you have.

I get up and go to work every day because I am anxious to move forward with my students in their learning. It makes me proud when I see accomplishments and progress made by them.

High school students are highly energized individuals. Their crazy behavior makes me want to pull my hair out. Challenges in a school setting are not just academic. Many times they are social and personal as well.

My job is very stressful, especially with the pressure of state standardized testing. I make sure to exercise regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and also relieve stress.

A rough salary range for the position I hold is in the mid 50’s. We as teachers never think we are paid enough, but we knew what our salaries would be like when we entered the field.

One of the perks of being a teacher is having all holidays and the summer off, so I do not need to take any vacation time during the year.

To be hired as a teacher, you need at least a BA in Education. However, the more degrees you get, the higher you move up the pay scale, and the more marketable you become.

If I had a friend who was considering a career in the education field I would say that it is an extremely rewarding field that comes with many benefits. Nonetheless, it is a very difficult to find a job right now. Hopefully the field may be easier to enter within the next few years as older teachers begin to retire and the market opens up.

In the next five years I would like to hold a higher position in my department, and possibly pursue a degree in Administration, or a related field.

This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy which houses career interviews and job search advice for professionals in any industry.  Visit to read about how to tame your ego and ask for feedback on the job.

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