How 10 Years of Teaching English Has Changed My Life
This blog post was written by recent ITTT graduate Kaitlin F., who shares her 10 years of teaching experience with us talking about the many different jobs in the English education field she was fortunate to work in.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Katilin F.
What is an educator?
An educator by definition is a person who provides instruction and/or education. In my own personal experience, educators in my life have not always been individuals that have gained their qualifications via professional schooling, but also by training or from their own experiences. This has transcended into what I believe an educator truly is.
“I often dealt with preschool children who made my experience memorable and from there my passion to teach continued”
My first experience with teaching began at the tender age of thirteen at my dance school. I was given the task of the assistant teacher, which I kept until my first year of college. There I was given tasks to help create choreography, conduct warm-ups and even edit music. I often dealt with preschool children who made my experience memorable and from there my passion to teach continued.
Also read: The 10 Best Destinations for Teaching English Abroad
“Every day I would receive a call not knowing what to expect when I walked into a school”
During my sophomore year, I acquired another assistive opportunity as a substitute paraprofessional for the New York City Department of Education. My experiences from this job truly transformed my understanding of what it means to be an educator and how to adapt to different environments. As a substitute, every day I would receive a call not knowing what to expect when I walked into a school. I mainly worked with children that were on the autism spectrum; some were verbal while others were not. Some students had severe allergies, medical conditions, mental and/or emotional diagnoses that hindered them from their academics.
Going to a different school, meeting new people and having to adjust every day has caused me to become an extremely versatile individual. As a paraprofessional, not only did I cater to my students’ needs, but I would also assist the teacher. Once, I was given the task to test a group of fifth graders on their language composition of a passage. I was instructed to read a passage with them, ask questions about the story and conduct an analysis of each student's comprehension. I would also evaluate the students’ reading comprehension and see if they were at their appropriate reading level.
“My experience while being a paraprofessional has let me become a more knowledgeable person in order to cater to students needs.”
I worked with ages varying from four to twenty and grades pre-kindergarten to seniors in high school. My experience while being a paraprofessional has let me become a more knowledgeable person in order to cater to students needs. I can assist children from a wide array of ages while being able to adapt to what each child needs according to their abilities.
I am currently working at a high school, where the majority of the students come from a low socioeconomic level and all have learning disabilities. The students and staff have a different way of handling situations that arise as well as themselves entirely. They go by their own rules while staying within the academic standards. This, in turn, has been a transforming learning experience for myself. As a substitute I usually have to adapt to what the teacher and students are used to, however here everything is new to me again and it is refreshing.
Also read: The Best Countries for Single Women to Teach English Abroad
“I received an opportunity to teach as an education instructor at my neighborhoods local zoo.”
Besides working at schools, I received an opportunity to teach at my neighborhoods local zoo, as an education instructor. There I had to learn about different animals, how to handle them, their basic needs, behaviors and additional information. I received certifications on how to handle the animals once I acquired enough knowledge and practice with them. When I was given my certification, I then had to learn different lesson plans that incorporated each animal I was specialized in. For example, I was certified in handling ball pythons they are predatory animals. As a predator, they hunt and use specific senses to capture their prey. In order to use them within a lesson plan, I would have to incorporate their predator behaviors into what I was teaching. Working at the zoo, I again did not know what lesson, class, and animals I would be utilizing until I came in that day.
Are you ready to teach English?
My teaching experiences have often caused me to adapt and go with the flow of things. With this in mind, I believe that is one keep component that has made me a successful teacher. For the past four years, I have been given amazing teaching and assistive teaching opportunities that have immersed me into a variety of fields. I look forward to continuing to gain more knowledge in a different field while using my previous experiences to guide me.
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