A Balancing Act

It’s the season for the job hunt, whether you’re looking for your first job or taking the next step along your career path. Read these first-person accounts to see how teachers balance the rewards and challenges of working in different types of schools. What’s the right fit for you?

A Balancing Act

Read other first-person accounts from K-12 teachers.

Overcoming Obstacles in the Urban Classroom

Creating Relationships with Parents

When I was in a teacher education program, I had grandiose and idealistic notions of what teaching was all about. I imagined the classroom to be very much like those portrayed in TV and movies, filled with students who acted out but quickly snapped into place and learned to their fullest potential. The part of teaching that I gave very little thought to, however, was the logistics of the setup and day-to-day life of a teacher.

I have worked for three school districts — two suburban and one urban — that are eerily similar when it comes to logistical challenges. Walking into your school to find there are very few resources available is often a huge shock to the beginning teacher. As students, we take it for granted that supplies such as printer paper, stickies, pens, pencils, and even books will be at our disposal once we become educators.

In my current school district, technology is found in excess, but the nontechnologically driven supplies are scarce. Each one of our staff supplies her own classroom needs. I have found that once students reach the middle and high school grades, parents are more reluctant to purchase supplies for them. As a result, I offer students an extra credit bonus for bringing tissues, pens, paper, pencils or map pencils, glue, stickies, markers, printer paper, and other essentials. Some of our staff also have received supplies from businesses that are cleaning out their supply closets.

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