Name: Rachel Nenna
College & Majors/Minors: English Literature (Masters), English Language and Literature (BA)
Current Location: Dallas, TX
Current Form of Employment: 5th Grade ELA/SS Teacher & Online English Adjunct Professor
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I currently teach at two different schools. I teach 5th grade ELA/SS at International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas) in Garland, TX and online at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ). ILTexas is a charter school with three locations in its second year of operation. It is a dual language school with a wonderful educational program and athletic program. I teach six classes with 26 students in each. I see three classes each day and see the same three classes for one week and switch to the other three the following week. It is a lot of work, but I love teaching them all. I will be helping to write the CSAs (regular testing school’s give in Texas) starting tomorrow. I am in my first year with ILTexas.
I also teach three-four classes online for FSCJ, and I just completed my fourth year working at the college. I have taught Pre Composition, Composition I, Writing Nonfiction, and Tech Report Writing. A few semesters ago I wrote the current Tech Report Writing class that is used by all of Open Campus (online part of the college).
Tell us about how you found your job! How many places did you apply? What was the application process like?
With FSCJ, I went up to one of the satellite campuses and then made appointments with all of the close campuses. From those visits I gained a full course load. I was in Florida for two years, and then moved to Texas. Before I left Florida, I started teaching one online course (Tech Report Writing). I talked with the Open Campus dean about continuing to teach online courses and that is how I got my full course load online.
I got my job at ILTexas through my friend who works there. It was a ‘who you know’ situation, but I nailed the interview!
When we first moved to Florida, I applied to over 100 jobs in two local school districts. I got called in for one interview and did not get the job. I decided then to use my Masters, and that is how I started teaching college.
When I moved back to Texas, I felt like I was in the same situation. I got a job at a private school (Dallas International) teaching PreK and Kindergarten. I then took a few months off after having my second child. Then I finally got in teaching at a local state college.
I had a life "aha" moment and realized I would get no where in that job without a PhD, so I tried looking for a job at an elementary school or middle school.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
I knew that once I got my AA in Business that teaching was my calling, so when I moved to Texas from Maine (my husband is in the Navy) I knew I had to get a move on with trying to become a teacher. I enrolled in an alternative teaching program through Region 10, while earning my Masters online and substituting in the local school district where I got my first teaching job (again, I knew the principal and that is how I got my first teaching job).
What has been the most surprising thing about being a teacher?
The most surprising thing about being a teacher is that my job is never done. Parents and students alike want to talk to me all the time, even after hours. They always want second chances and understanding of why their work is late. It is a tiring job that never stops, much like how New York never sleeps. Teaching is like breathing, it cannot stop for whatever reason. I am always so tired and feel like I am forgetting to do something, because most likely I am, but I love my job. I know I have made a difference when I see the light bulb go off in my students’ eyes and when the college students recommend me to their friends. That is when I know I have made a true difference.