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Four Jobs and a Degree in Motivating Kids

July 15, 2013

Today’s guest post comes from Ann Davis (AmeriCorps ’12), who served as a teacher with Teach For America during her term of service.

2013.07.14.Ann DavisHave you ever met someone that held more than four jobs at one time?  Have you ever met someone that held more than four rewarding jobs at one time?  … You have!  They’re called teachers.

Through AmeriCorps’ Teach For America (TFA) Program, I learned that a teacher’s role goes beyond making red marks on papers.  The following are just a few of the jobs that teachers hold.

Teachers are Mediators

As a fifth grade teacher my kids were passing into their preteen years, and by the third month of teaching their wasn’t a day that passed where I didn’t catch a girl blabbing about another student behind her back.  I would spend my lunch period conferencing with gaggles of girls who after 5 minutes of telling their side of the story, ended their argument with a hug.

Teachers are Technology Gurus

At my school we were lucky enough to have SMART boards in classrooms to use for showing videos, and playing education games.  Unfortunately, my projector didn’t come with a technology assistant.  Every second counts in a classroom, and I realized that when my presentation shut down, kids would be shredding crayons and chucking pencils across the room within ten seconds of my tech issue.  That got old quickly, so I adapted fast and now call myself an edtech expert.

Teachers are Counselors

In my classroom, it wasn’t uncommon for a family member of a student to die as a victim of violence, or a parent to walk out the front door on a Monday morning and never return.  My kids were strong, but through negative actions they performed, I could usually figure out when something was wrong in their home lives.  When a student punched a peer on the playground, or talked back to a teacher in the hall, I knew it was Counselor Ann time.  If I had formed a relationship with them, their issues would eventually spill out.  Sometimes for them, talking was the best therapy.

Teachers are Actors

Schwarzenegger made an appearance during Ann's stint as an AmeriCorps member in the Teach For America program....sort of.

Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance in the classroom during Ann’s stint as an AmeriCorps member….sort of.

To my kids, it didn’t matter if I had been up until 3 am working on lesson plans and could barely peel open my eyes.  They expected entertainment, which was provided by me hopping, shouting and mastering about ten different voice imitations that included Arnold Schwarzenegger and an alien from planet ‘no-no don’t do that’.

Teachers are More than Teachers

What I can conclude from my experience with TFA, is that teachers do wayyy more than what I ever imagined when I was a wee 10-year old in a suburban 5th grade class.  The TFA program through AmeriCorps brings thousands of hard-working and driven young people into the classroom to work with at-risk youth each year.  Often times TFA corps members enter the corps without an idea of their interests after the two-year commitment.  By the end of their teaching period, their AmeriCorps experience causes the majority to passionately continue in the field of education.  After realizing the importance of a multi-faceted teacher in a child’s life through Teach For America, I decided to take a summer job working for the website Haystack EDU that helps teachers find jobs at schools around the country.  We need more awesome teachers/mediators/techgurus/counselors/actors in our classrooms!

TFA alumni are leaders in education throughout the country, whether they are a principal of a school, a school board member, or the founder of an education technology start-up.  AmeriCorps teaches its members the importance of bettering and leading in their community by providing them with an unforgettable experience, that often helps determine future career paths.

Ann is currently working for the edtech company Haystack EDU and will return to the classroom next year.

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