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Can you tell us about yourself?

“Hello. My name is Amber Benson and I teach at Northside Middle School in Roanoke, VA. I currently teach Collaborative Math 8 with my amazing co-teacher, Ruby Voss. I am in my third-year teaching here”

Why did you start a career in education?

“I started in education because when I was 8 years old I decided that I wanted to be just like a combination of my Grandma, who had taught for like 40 years and my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Mason, who was amazing and all the kids loved her and we just had so much fun. That I decided I kind of wanted to smoosh those two together and be a teacher. And I thought for a really long time that I wanted to teach elementary school until I was about 15 and I realized I just did not have the patience for 5-year olds. So, I kind of just ended up here in the middle school and I ended up loving it. If you could have any other job what would it be and why? “I honestly do know that I would pick anything realistic. I do really really enjoy baking so I might try to do something with that, but I don’t know if I’m quite good enough. So, I always tell people that if I had another job, I would want to be a librarian in the library from the movie, “The Pagemaster”, which is super specific and really weird. But just an awesome movie and the library looks really cool and kind of creepy and I love that.

How are kids different now than 30 years ago?

“Well, I am 30. So, I see some differences in the way that I was when I was in school and how these kids are now that they are in school. But to be honest, most of the differences that I see between 2002, when I was in 8th grade, and my 8th graders now are just technology based. So, really the main differences I see are in how they rely on technology. It is not inherently that the kids themselves are worse or anything it is just that they have been raised differently.

How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?

“I would have them take a seriously look at how much patience they have. So, when I decided when I was very young that I wanted to be a teacher my mom used to always tell me that my biggest problem was going to be that I don’t have the patience to be a teacher. And I think that when I was in high school, she was certainly right. I didn’t have any patience at all. I have four younger sisters and we all drove each other crazy. But as I actually got into teaching, I realized I do have a lot of patience for kids and that I can let a lot of things not get under my skin. So, if you are thinking about becoming a teacher, take a second to evaluate how patience you can really can be. Are you going to absolutely insane every time a student speaks out of turn or can you kind of handle stuff like that?

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