First, try really,
really hard not to be a Negative Nellie.
I understand that may be difficult given that you have been teaching for a long
time, may not like all the changes the government keeps imposing on teachers
and schools and that you may not even like your students. I get it. Teaching is
often unheralded and we teachers are often pariahs. That does not mean that you
have the obligation to instill all sorts of negativity into the lives and
hearts of new, young teachers. This is the number one reason I do not eat in
the teachers’ lunch room. Ever.
Second, be a
welcoming presence in the school where a new teacher has been hired.
I understand all too well that we are busy. We are very busy. I heard a teacher
say the other day that she is leaving special education precisely because she
is sick of all the paperwork she has to do. Add on top of that training and
everything else and it all adds up to busy. But we can all take the time to
stop by the new teacher’s classroom and say hello or let him or her know what
room we are in if he has any questions. We can do simply things like
introducing ourselves or inviting him or her to lunch.
Third, share your
Seriously. You have years of experience, curriculum, ideas, games and projects.
Share your stuff! When I first went to my classroom, I had 18 weeks’ worth of
stuff from student teaching, a few projects I had completed in graduate school
and books from my sons’ library. One of the best aspects of my current place of
employment is that the staff has been extremely generous with me. There is no
shortage of ideas and no shortage of stuff to share.
Fourth, take some
time to have a nice long training seminar with a new teacher and explain how
the school’s computer software works.
If I have a complaint about my current location, it is here. I had a five-minute
training session one afternoon. Other than that, it’s been learn on the fly.
I’m sure this is not everyone’s experience, but it may be yours. If you are a
seasoned teacher or a mentor to a resident educator, please take time to make
certain your new teacher knows the ins and outs of the software.
Fifth, make certain
new teachers are receiving important information.
For many new teachers, the ups and downs of joining a union, buying insurance
or understanding the local contract are overwhelming, to say the least. Throw
into this important meetings or training days or in-service days and the mix
becomes rather confusing.
I assume that it is normal for a mentor to handle most of
this, but if you live next door to a new teacher, it will not hurt to pop in
every now and again and make certain he or she heard about the retirement party
or the after-school meeting taking place in the cafeteria.
It is difficult being a first-year teacher in a new school
district. Seasoned teaching professionals can help make the transition smoother
by being available and helpful. There really is a lot to learn in the first
year of teaching.
So, to Reality 101 readers, based on your experiences as a new
teacher, what will you do for new teachers once you make it into the realm of
the seasoned professionals?