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Teacher leader: What I do and how much I make

Paul talks about his role as a 6th grade teacher leader and explains the importance of having a growth mindset.

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Video transcript

I'm Paul Clifton, I'm 30 years old. I am a sixth grade teacher leader, and my salary is about $60,000. I'm a new teacher leader, and so I get to coach other teachers, fellow math teachers, and work on a team. I get to observe teachers teach, co-teach with them, and get into other classrooms instead of just working in my own. A lot of times, at McGlone, we collaborate so much, and it's a great opportunity to be a part of that. I'm an ELA-S teacher, so that means, in the classroom, I use Spanish and English to teach. A lot of times I'll trans-language, which is, I'll go back and forth between English and Spanish just to help everyone understand. We have a lot of language learners at our school, so there's so many students that have the potential to be bilingual and bi-literate, and so it's so important that we're using both languages and helping them understand that Spanish has just as much value and validity as English. With a lot of the students that I teach, I've been with them for four years now. As either their classroom teacher, and now, a great opportunity the last two years, been their advisor. And being an advisor is a really important role, 'cause you're like the go-to person for that student and for that family. After school, I love staying after school, and I try to stay after school as much as I can just to spend time with kids. But I feel like, as a teacher, I teach math, and I teach ELD, but I feel like I have even more to offer and I want to contribute more to the community. So we do music production, or kids will come in to get extra help with math, or sometimes we'll even shoot some videos or something like that just to kind of find out what kids are interested in and then make that a reality. I'd say, overall, the best thing that someone who wants to become a teacher, one thing that you must have is a growth mindset, and being willing to fail and adjust and succeed and continue that cycle over and over and over again. And you have to love what you do, and if you don't like what you're doing, the kids will know it, kids can see that like so clear and so quickly. And so, I mean there are times when the lesson isn't fun and if it's not fun for you, it's not gonna be fun for the kids, and so it's always a challenge to find that way to engage students. And growing up, when I told people that I wanted to become a teacher, it was always like, oh man, teachers don't make a lot of money. But I, that's just what I wanted to do, so yeah, I'm gonna do that. It's public what teachers make in every state, every county, every school district. So I definitely knew what I'm getting into, financially, and definitely understand like with student loans and everything that it's a struggle. I mean, it's a struggle to make ends meet. At our school, where we have innovative status I'm an ELA-S teacher, it's what's considered like a hard to serve, hard to staff position. So that means that I do make a few thousand dollars more than an average teacher in DPS. And we're also eligible for growth, high growth bonuses based on student test results. This year I'm going to make around $60,000 but my first year, I think it was somewhere around between $50,000 and $55,000. Sometimes at the end of the month you don't know exactly how much you're going to get paid, it's kind of a "Hooray you got bonus!" or there's this, or you didn't get anything extra this month so things are a little short. As a teacher, I wouldn't say that nobody's here for money, I mean it's a job, it's something that we need to make a living but the satisfaction that we get as teachers when things are going well, after a day when you feel like you really killed it, I mean there's always things that you could have improved but you feel like you made a real strong connection with your kids and they learned. That feeling is priceless. He's thoughtful. Fun. He works with us. Good teacher. Awesome. The best. He treats us with respect. He's responsible. He's caring. He's respectful. He perseveres through hard moments. Hero.