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Interview with Karen Lee: A Teacher
Lauren Michelle’s Interview with: Karen Lee-Substitute teacher/former full-time teacher?
Q: How long have you wanted to be a teacher for?
A: Since I was seven. I used to play school when other kids played school. I taught my teacher how to read, do math, and write at the age of three; since we used to play school all the time.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: It was a private school called The College of Education in Evanston. Later, it turned into National Lewis University.
Q: How much education do you have?
A: I went to college for four years and have a Bachelors in Arts degree.
Q: Where did you start off teaching?
A: I student-taught at Lincoln in St. Charles, and I taught third and fourth grade at Calvary Christian School.
Q: Since you have now taught children in kinder-garden all the way till high school, what do you think was some of the most difficult experiences you had to face?
A: I think one of the most difficult experiences is pretty much the disciplinary part. I think, dealing with students that are disrespectful, and unmotivated; trying to find ways to help them to be successful is one of the most challenging.
Q: Based off of these experiences, what grade do you most enjoy teaching and why?
A: I enjoy teaching junior high. I feel like they’re still young enough that they’re formable, yet old enough that I don’t have to tie their shoes and deal with the whining…as much. I can also have complex conversations with them.
Q: What are some challenges that associate with teaching as a substitute?
A: It’s stereotype that if a substitute shows up, it’s a free for all. Not knowing the student’s personalities and strengths and weaknesses of each individual student is also difficult.
Q: Was there ever a time where an absent teacher’s instructions for you were not enough and you simply had to put things into your own hands and take over?
A: Yes, I showed up to teach fifth grade and this teacher did not leave a lesson plan. So, I had to wing it. I had to write out my lesson plan on the spot. It was stressful in the beginning, but having experience substituting, I was able to get on my feet and be creative throughout the day.
Q: Are there certain limits, as far as substitutes go, where you are not allowed to teach or discipline as a full-time teacher would?
A: No, I can pretty much hand out the disciplinary actions myself.
Q: When a child constantly acts up even after a detention, how do you handle it?
A: I call the child’s parents. I take necessary steps, and also without a relationship with the student, you can’t quite figure it out. You never know if this student has trauma in their life, and instead of disciplining the student, I would sit down with the student and his/her parents, and get to the root of a child’s problems.
Q: When you were a full-time teacher, how did you handle other staff members who may have been a bother to you?
A: Professionally, I dealt with them in the limits of what was necessary; like making lesson plans together. I did not let personal issues interfere with my ability to teach.
Q: If you could have any other job, what would you do and why?
A: I think I would be a reporter. I find people/world events interesting and it would be an exciting position that’s different every day. ?