As a new teacher to Henry County Schools, you must go through a week-long teacher induction program (TIP). If you talk with veteran teachers, you are warned of the stereotypical monotone presenters (think Charlie Brown’s mom) spouting endlessly about policy and procedure.
Luckily, my TIP experience was the complete opposite. It made me feel as though I am a new member of a family that is excited to have me there and will support me throughout my first year and career within the education system.
As I got out of the car Monday morning, my stomach was turning and my mind steadfastly preparing for three days of boredom. However, by the time I reached the front door I couldn’t believe where I was. Administrators from the central office and school leadership were outside and within the lobby of the auditorium, greeting us with smiles, taking time to have conversations with us, and providing a welcome unlike any other. Within an hour, district officials had us laughing and even singing a song about how excited we were to be in Henry County Schools!
We inductees enjoyed numerous presentations that will undoubtedly help me this first year. Divided by grade levels and subjects, we were able to get the best information from the best people for our specific student population — to become the best teachers possible. Throughout the week, I was able to discuss classroom behavior, teaching strategies, and more with the veteran presenters as well as my fellow new hires. That really helped build my confidence for the ever-approaching first day of school on Aug. 1.
For the last day of TIP, new hires go to their new schools for a school-based orientation and some classroom prep time. Because I worked at my school last year as a paraeducator, most of the welcome was redundant. However, I was again awed by the amount of care and support my school administration provided the new teachers. We often hear about how teachers are unprepared, dumped into classrooms with an employee handbook, a dry-erase marker, a class set of textbooks, and a smile. However, Henry County took the time to explain curriculum maps, identify county resources, and offer contacts and other means for additional support to really ensure teacher success as much as student success.
I left TIP with the feeling I imagine a new Marine has after graduating from boot camp. I am proud to be a teacher within my school and district. I feel well prepared and armed with the best tools my system can provide for me to support my students. I feel like a brother of my fellow teachers and a guardian of my students, rather than an employee number who must raise the test scores of a collection of student ID numbers.
Our superintendent challenged us to take Henry County Schools from good to great, and after TIP I feel as though my new family will be able to reach a level even above greatness!