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BLOG – FOSTERING TEACHERS

 

They Are Our Students Too

A second year teacher visited me today. He shared feelings of frustration and defeat, questioning whether he had chosen the right profession. His is loved by his students, classroom management is not an issue, he has the will to be great and, by-the-way, he is African American teaching in an urban school. The last thing I want to see is this young man leaving the profession. I chose to mentor him.

In our initial meeting, he shared his major concern: student achievement. I began asking probing question, discovering that just like students have gaps in their learning, this young teacher had gaps in his. Unnecessary gaps, easy fixes, which someone should have caught sooner.  I now wonder – are our young teachers leaving the profession due to a lack of support from talented, seasoned teachers? Are those who know, understand, and capably deliver instruction in urban schools embracing new teachers with the same gusto we use in our individual classrooms? New teachers are our students, and we, veteran teachers, must not let them down.

One question to ask is would the same instructional practices which deliver such great returns in the classroom be as effective with new teachers? For example, at the beginning of the school year, teachers spend time getting to know their students – their likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Should time be equally spent with new teachers exploring their likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears? Allow me to explore this question by comparing the efficacy of beginning-of-school-year practices for new students to those used with new teachers.

 

NEW STUDENTS NEW TEACHERS
At the beginning of the year, get to know your students. Learn their likes, dislikes, favorite subjects, hobbies, family members, etc. At the beginning of the year, veteran teachers should get to know new teachers. Learn their likes, dislikes, favorite subjects, hobbies, family members, etc.
At the beginning of the year, build community. Share norms, procedures, and expectations. Utilize team-building activities so students learn about their teacher and other students in the class. At the beginning of the year, veteran teachers should build community with new teachers. Share norms, procedures, and expectations. Utilize team-building activities so new teachers learn about coworkers while co-workers build relationships with new teachers.
Teachers determine what is essential to teach. Veteran teachers share curriculum, power standards, instructional resources, and effective strategies.
Teachers prepare lessons based on standards Veteran teachers share school norms and standards essential for a successful school year
Instruct, Assess, Reevaluate

  • Introduce
  • Practice
  • Assess
  • Reteach
Veteran teachers instruct new teachers in all the above:

  • Introduce
  • Practice
  • Assess
  • Reteach

I propose we embrace new teachers with the same level of care, concern, and love, we give to those students who we meet on the first day of school.  Just as our students are excited and simultaneously apprehensive, so are our new teachers. They are our students too. Let’s treat them as such!!