Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Beginning teaching

A new life begins Posted by Hello

By now new teachers will have survived their first few days. I wonder how they are feeling? I remember well my first few days of teaching. I still remember how tired and emotionally drained I was. Overwhelmed and bleary eyed would some it all up for me.

Life in real classroom no doubt seems greatly different from what was imagined? Beliefs and expectations will have been challenged by the reality of trying to keep a class of very different children busy, as well as living up to the real or imagined expectations of fellow teachers who appear to have it all under control.

I think it is important for beginning teachers to appreciate that other beginning teachers are facing up the same challenges and, if they were honest, even the most experienced teachers! Teaching is an emotional business with its ups and downs. When things work out it is a real buzz but equally it can be the opposite. All teachers have bad days.

Teachers enter the profession with a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension. Their experiences in the first year will determine their future success. This to a large extent depends on the collegial support that mentor teachers provide them and the beginning teacher’s openness to asking for help.

Hopefully many of the questions will have been sorted before entering the classroom. It is worth remembering that many new teachers leave the profession within the first few years so supportive help in the early strategies is vital to build up confidence.

Beginning teaching is very much a transition period when the teacher has to face up to real demanding changes in lifestyle. With supportive help of a designated fellow teacher they will survive to look back and wonder why it was all so difficult.

At first help should be specific and directive and focus on setting up classroom management procedures and setting expectations. As with beginning learners new teachers will need to be given ‘scaffolds’ to assist them until they catch their breath and work out ways that suit themselves better. The supporting teacher needs to act as ‘learning coach’ giving focused help targeted to specific needs.

During the first few weeks most new teachers are simply trying to stay afloat being more concerned with feeling in control rather than what is being learnt. Time will change this ratio. As things settle down confidence will grow.

If the beginning teachers develops an openness towards new ideas and continues to ask questions of others then there is every chance it will be the beginning of an enjoyable career.

Those who assist such new teachers on their journey will be an important variable.

There is excellent practical advice to be found on our site.
Beginning Teacher advice one

Beginning Teacher advice two

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All schools with beginning teachers should access the advice on your site! Actually it is good advice for all teachers beginning the year.