In my third year of teaching, my administrator called me a week into summer vacation. Could you just send me the lesson plans from those visits and write up an evaluation?
- James Cutler, originally from Hereford, completed his NQT year in July!
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The man had walked through my classroom twice that year. That was my tenure year. I was not the only one granted tenure from such incompetence. I had an administrator throw a stapler at my head. She also parked her Jaguar lengthwise behind my car in the school parking lot and refused to move it so I could go home. I was stuck at school until 9 p. I could go on and on about administrators who roam the halls literally picking battles with Black boys over the pettiest stuff. A third Black boy was sent out by a sub for throwing juice that someone had thrown at him first and was frustrated that no one would listen to his side of the story.
He was suspended three days for disrespect and literally put out of the building. This kid had no behavior record at school, had recently been jumped and gotten a concussion, and was forced to walk the neighborhood. I was physically attacked by a student: dragged down the stairs by my hair. I had never been assaulted before, and I also felt like the student trusted me, so I took two days off to process the incident.
Upon my return, I was reprimanded for not taking my job seriously. A beloved principal passed away the week before school started. We had the funeral Labor Day and school started the next day. The first thing the new principal did was remove all pictures and memorials to the principal who had passed. She told us in the first meeting that the principal who passed represented the past and we have to move forward. She canceled plans for us to dedicate the library to our late principal.
He is now the principal of a small high school in a different part of my state, and I am both horrified that he was re-hired after his previous behavior and also saddened for the teachers who work for him. There was an admin at my school, an AP, who forged a letter of recommendation from our principal when applying to a nearby school. Like, same district kind of nearby. Expect to spend a lot of time working outside of school hours, but you must learn when to stop. Prioritise your life over anything else. Get involved with students' events outside your subject and get to know your colleagues well.
Ask colleagues about their plans and if there is a staff football team, gym or routine visits to the pub then ask if you can pop along. Another way to get to know colleagues is to ask them for a favour. For example, ask art for colouring pens or PE for stop clocks. Although these contacts might start as emails, you get your name known and can say hello and thank you in the corridor. Ensure you prepare exciting, engaging and challenging lessons.
Forget formal observations, you're being observed by up to 30 pupils every lesson.
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It's your chance to put into practice all that you've learnt. But it's also the time to experiment and take risk with a strategy or technique.
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Be your own teacher. Try to make your subject relevant to your pupils. Think back to your own school days and how the teachers who inspired you made you love your subject. That said, be guided by whoever has curriculum responsibility for the subjects you teach. If you need help then ask. Your mentor and professional mentor are there for support. Ask to go and observe other colleagues. Be enthusiastic, professional and keen to learn. You won't be the finished article — no teacher ever is. Wait behind the locked door. Please knock three times. When I open the door, offer some explanation for your lateness and an apology.
Explain how you will not be late again— each day you are late, you fall behind. Be prepared.
Have your pencils, pens, notebooks, etc. School is training you for work. If you did not come prepared for work, what would your boss think of you? No, you will not have the chance to visit your locker during my class to get your work. Work hard. I expect homework to be done. Once in a while, it may be missing or there may have been a tragedy. I am human. I understand. But if you are missing homework more than a few times, especially at the beginning of the year, I am calling home to investigate. But that is the gist of it.
A lot you learn through teaching. I hope that helps! Search Search for:.
The teachers who inspired us, and even changed our lives | TED Blog
Here is my practical advice for first year teachers. A random picture that reminded me of myself on my first day of teaching— bright eyed, bushy tailed, and bloody clueless. The most important piece of advice? All of this could have been avoided. Proclaim the rules. Here are some other lessons you need to learn: 2. Dress like a professional. No jeans, no tees, or running shoes, even if senior teachers are wearing them.
The seniors have earned the right to jeans.
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- Double Standards.
This is a dangerous situation. Act and look young, and the students will treat you like a buddy and will dismiss your rules like pesky flies. Look cool and hip, and your students will treat your class like happy hour. Dress sloppily and casually, and your administration—even if they profess to not care about casual dress—will judge you. You are on probation for an important job. Opt for business casual attire, and cover your body. Expect to pay your dues. You will likely be assigned the classes no one wants. No use complaining. Count your first year as hard core classroom management training, like hard core hazing in the military.
Be proud of your battle wounds. Learn to like the taste of tears. And these little things will mean more to you than your pay cheque. Your memories of first year teacher hell will make you chuckle.
But teaching will still have its dark moments. Welcome to teaching. First year teachers, what are you struggling with, and how can we help? Like this: Like Loading Previous Article How to be the best student teacher ever.
To answer your question, I think I will write another blog post, but here is the short version: 1. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.