So, You Want to be an Elementary School Teacher

In continuing our “So you want to be a…” series, this week we were able interview McCall Chappell, who is currently working on completing her degree in elementary education.

Interviewer: What made you want to major in elementary education?

Ms. Chappell: I knew that I love to be around kids.  Also, my dad and my step-mom are both teachers so I’ve been in the classroom a lot and have loved it

Interviewer: Where are you currently doing your schooling?  What are the educational requirements for that particular field?

Ms. Chappell: I’m currently attending SUU.  In order to be a teacher you need to maintain a 3.0 grade point average as well as take several classes regarding education in general as well as classes in math and other subjects you will be expected to teach.  Also, you have to pass the PRAXIS test in order to be a teacher.

Interviewer: What has been your favorite aspect of your academic experience so far?

Ms. Chappell: With elementary education you have opportunity to be with the same people in all of your classes and since you all want to be teachers, it is fun to be able to collaborate and learn from each other.

Interviewer: What has been the hardest part of your academic experience?

Ms. Chappell:  Mostly just normal school stresses.  Things like getting up early to go to class and having to deal with homework is just hard sometimes.

Interviewer: What is the average salary available in that field?

Ms. Chappell: Starting is around $40,000 a year, average I believe is around $60,000 a year.

Interviewer: What has been your favorite aspect of the job itself (during practice classes)?

Ms. Chappell: It’s so fun to see how much the kids just love you.  They’re pretty shy at first, but after a while they just show so much love for you.

Interviewer: What has been one particularly rewarding experience you’ve had as you’ve been working on your degree?

Ms. Chappell: Well, I was able to do a teaching day at the on-campus preschool.  This means that I was able to take control of the whole day, plan out and execute the entire lesson.  It was hard but so rewarding to see it come to life and really feel like I had a hand in it.

Interviewer: What has been the hardest aspect of the job itself (during practice classes)?

Ms. Chappell: Classroom management is the hardest part of the job, just because everybody learns differently and so it can be difficult to keep everybody focused and on task.

Interviewer: What are some things you have had to overcome to better succeed in this area?

Ms. Chappell:  I tend to be more of quiet person and more, shy so getting up in front of kids is a little uncomfortable for me.  I’ve had to work on learning to better take command of the room and keep the kids’ attention focused on me.  That has been pretty hard.

Interviewer: What would be one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is trying to decide what to major in?

Ms. Chappell: Being able to job shadow is really important.  When I was in high school, I was able to try out multiple jobs that I was interested in and discovered that there were aspects of many of them that I didn’t want to do for my whole life, despite enjoying them.  It helped me narrow down my options.