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Home  > Insider profile
David Michel
Teacher

"I had thought about wanting to teach a long time. I didn't have any clue how to go about it."

As children, we're all asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer?

A teacher

How did you get your big breaks?

I had thought about wanting to teach a long time. I didn't have any clue how to go about it. My senior year went to the office of career services for counseling and they helped me. I thought there would be a lot of teaching jobs like there were investment banking jobs. I was only considering independent schools, whereas if I were considering public schools, the whole track would have been different. Most people who want to go into education know what they are doing cause they are already on the track. I would have loved to have a meeting with some one in my junior year who said "if you were interested in teaching...here are the things you need to do".

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

The biggest fear most of us have involves classroom management issues like kids out of control in their classroom. The greatest gift you can give a new teacher is the need not to be liked. Don't think of students as your friends, which is very difficult for 22 year olds to create boundaries and articulate how to keep a distance from students. You can be a role model, not their buddy. Ask former teachers to help you. Most are willing to help out.

What have you learned from your experience?

Independent schools are hiring for coaching, dorm supervisors and extracurricular activities. Be willing to do anything just to get your foot in the door. Go to NACE and write to the school you are interested in and see if they will meet with you there. Don't depend on placement services, just show up at conference and be the first resume in the book so you can get more interviews. Tailor your resume to teaching. The more work with kids that you can do the better, including something like being a camp counselor. Apply to be a resident advisor or a peer counselor, anything that is working with kids and kids teaching is a plus.

What most excites you about your job right now?

The students are so great. They have so much to learn and they think they already know it all. It's been as great as I thought it would be, tough, but great.

On a scale of 1-10, how relevant was your academic major to your career? (1=not at all, 10=absolutely essential)

10

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