Of course, I also have an interest in a getting a job and paying my bills - so naturally - networking through the University of Arizona program seemed like a great idea. After applying and getting matched with employees from the Sahuarita and Marana Unified School Districts, I attended an orientation that covered all the details of job shadowing. From sharing our host’s contact information to using appropriate email templates, everything to be prepared for the job shadow was covered.
In one of my job shadows, I was hosted by Michelle Thelen, the Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Education for the Marana Unified School District. Michele had an eventful day planned for us, in which we visited three schools and the MUSD District Office. In each of these schools, we were shown the various ways that Marana is incorporating new technology into their teaching and providing different types of education for different types of learners. I took note of how passionate the administration seems to be about really helping their students grow as learners without stressing them out about their GPA.
I really enjoyed getting to participate in the Job Shadow program because I gained an entirely new perspective on the field of education. I went into the experience knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in education and that I wanted to start off as a classroom teacher, while working my way up to an administrative role. Before my job shadow, I had a very limited idea of what my options might be once I moved on from the role of classroom teacher and with the help of what I started to understand through the job shadow, I have learned that positions such as Principal and Vice Principal are not the only positions available outside of the classroom. I was able to meet with a School Psychologist and an Achievement Coordinator, who each play a huge role in the way their school is run. Getting to go behind the scenes of the classroom and see each of the moving parts that make up a school was encouraging and exciting for me. I loved that MUSD was a district that focuses on how it can best serve each of its students, so much that I left that day scouring their website for any open positions that I might be able to fill.
Not long after my job shadow experience, I attended the Vail School District job fair. I grew up in Vail and felt that I had received an excellent education from teachers who cared about more than just my test scores. I am excited to say that the day before that job fair, a 6th grade Language Arts teaching position opened up, and I was chosen for the role. I hope to be able to connect with my students and adapt my teaching methods to best fit their ideal learning processes. I cannot wait to take what I’ve learned from experiences such as the University of Arizona Job Shadow Program and apply it to my classroom.
The upcoming Summer Break session will be held virtually and will include 1- hour informational interviews over Zoom or a similar video meeting platform. This will allow participants the opportunity to prepare thoughtful and intentional questions for their host. The host will provide a direct look inside their company, job, or organization and the Job Shadow Program provides a wide range of hosts from many industries! While this is different from the in-person job shadow experience, this insider information is still valuable to anyone looking to gain insight into a particular field.