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There are many ways that one can build a successful teaching career. Early on, in the stages of choosing this vocation, I feel it is crucial to possess two very important intentions towards becoming a teacher. One needs to not only have a love of children, but also a love of learning. This decision needs not to just be a decision, but a passion, a calling, and in many ways, almost a “ministry.” Because of the many demands and trials and challenges that a teacher must face on a daily basis, if one does not possess this fervor, it will be very difficult to carry on through the tough times to get to those great times, where the teacher actually sees the results of his or her constant academic endeavors. In the beginning of building one’s teaching career, of course, it is all about attending college, and then homing in on the field of what one loves to teach. That could be, of course, a Multiple Subject field, if the teacher is focused on the elementary ages, or one field of teaching that one is good at, or truly enjoys, as in a Single Subject area, for teaching secondary age students. I think it is also important for elementary teachers to take supplemental courses in areas that they love, so that they might have a special area where they can shine in teaching that subject. It could be for their own class of students, or possibly teaching across the curriculum, or even doing a scaffolding teaching activity with their grade level or another grade, like maybe a “buddy” class. My training for my credential and my master’s degree allowed me to learn about how crucial performing science experiments and doing hands on activities in the classroom is for students. I took many college courses about using discrepant science events in the elementary classroom, and I wrote my master’s thesis on this subject. One of the specialties of my teaching career was creating STEM science experiments and curriculum for lower and upper grade elementary aged students (Levels Pre-K through Primary 6) for the past twenty years, carrying out those experiments, and improving upon them with my own and other teachers’ students. One of the ways I carried this out on a weekly basis, was when my fourth-grade team and I created a program called “Team Friday.” For many years, until my cohorts retired, we each taught a subject we loved every single Friday. We created teams across our grade level, where a group of students from each class were “mixed together,” creating a new team of students. Every team had kids from all four fourth grade classes. Each Friday, those teams moved through all four of the teachers’ classrooms, learning something new or reiterating something important, until by the end of the month, they had rotated through each class one time. Then, we, as teachers, would lesson plan and start a new rotation with another new and fun standard to teach the entire grade level. My area was science, and it was an absolute blast for me to teach those kids. They all loved the crazy stuff I did with them and jumped right in! This example is another crucial way to build a successful teaching career. One needs to learn how to work with his or her cohorts. Building those relationships with teaching peers is of utmost importance. Working together as a team for the greater good of all the students will create a sense of unity and bonding, allowing for the best possible experience for the students and their teachers. Here is just one small way that this worked. By the end of Winter break, I pretty much knew every single student’s name across the entire grade level. That alone brought an entire new meaning to having a relationship with ALL the students in fourth grade. Every one of those kids could approach me, talk to me, and know I cared about them. It is truly one of my favorite memories of teaching fourth grade during my career. We also were required to take training courses to teach the ESL students in our school. I did an entire year of multicultural college courses, that allowed me to use those concepts across the curriculum and engage students who spoke another language. I received my C.L.A.D. from the State of California in 2001. Our district also hosted yearly trainings to improve language arts and math skills, as well as keeping up with new technology (which I used a lot in my classroom). Each day, for the last several years that I taught, I did small groups daily with the EL students, to help improve their language skills, with special curriculum provided by our district. Training in other areas is too important. Each year, we took classes through our health insurance program to go over safety in the classroom, bullying, dealing with students and parents, working with cohorts and administration. We were also required to review the board policies each year as part of our training. Then, we had a meeting in our staff lounge or our computer lab each month with our principal to cover curriculum and instruction. Also, as a grade level, we taught an antibullying curriculum to the entire grade level, over a period of eight weeks, to help them learn what a bully is, how to cope with bullies, and to NOT BE a bully. All the above gave me greater skills in how to handle situations with my district, my administration, my teaching peers, my students and their parents. There is so much more that added to building my teaching career, and I am thankful for all the people who invested their time, energy, and talents into me, so I could become the best teacher I could possibly be. In truth, the greatest way to build a career is to invest in relationships, because, as a teacher, one is ALWAYS working with people.