Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Welcome to New Teacher Assistance

My name is Lauren and I have just completed my first year of teaching high school ... for the second time. After receiving my BA in Classics from Emory University, I began teaching Latin at a small, private high school. I knew nothing about teaching, only that I knew Latin really well. Two years of chaos was enough to send me for my teacher's certification from Georgia State University -- the student teaching did me in and I left the classroom after 5 years as a teacher. I transitioned into high school administration and began work on my MA in Professional Writing at Kennesaw State University part-time -- the high school administration did me in and I returned to the classroom this year. I began teaching a new subject (English) and a familiar subject with new textbooks (Latin) at a new school that was the polar opposite of my last school. To say this year has been filled with challenges is a major understatement. What I have learned is that I enjoy teaching, but that there is so much I wish I could have known in advance or at least been better prepared for.

Thus the idea for New Teacher Assistance was born. Teaching is a tough profession that a certification program can help prepare you for the academic side of things (lesson planning, sequencing, forms of assessment, etc.), but that leaves you ill-prepared for the daily ups and downs of being a new teacher (what to do with your lunch period, how to avoid administrators, how many football games to attend, etc.). So, if you are a new teacher, if you are interested in becoming a teacher, or if you remember your new teacher years with bittersweet fondness, welcome aboard.

13 comments:

Emily Kagey said...

I edit publications for the Southern Regional Education Board (a nonprofit that promotes educational reform and policy), and may of our publications focus on how teachers can continue to deliver real-world skills and knowledge in a high-stakes testing era. How have your instructional practices been affected by the accountability associated with No Child Left Behind? What advice would you give new teachers to help them overcome the "teach-to-the-test" mentality?

Matthew said...

Too often I hear teachers talk about how difficult it is to be a teacher, mostly they talk about how children don't seem to care about learning. I imagine as a new teacher, for the second time, you run into this problem at times. What do you do in order to remain positive about teaching high school students who often aren't interested in learning? Also, are there any tips for motivating students to learn?

Melissa said...

I'm really looking forward to following this blog and hearing your advice. I am a first year teacher starting in the fall and am trying to mentally prepare myself for the task. :)

Jamie Grimes said...

One of my main concerns about becoming a teacher is my desire to teach more than the lesson. Often I feel as though things like lit. studies can serve as a gateway into discussions about modern philosophy and current events. I'm not saying I would push my views on the students, but I would want to encourage them to thing about things on their own.

Is there a Line That Shouldn't Be Crossed? Should pedagogies that force students to examine their worlds be resigned to college campuses, or is there a place for them everywhere?

Elizabeth Pecce said...

After 28 years of working as a nurse, my mother is leaving patient care to teach nursing at the collegiate level. Needless to say, she is very nervous about this career change. My mother will be teaching freshmen, so they won’t be too different than high school seniors. If there was one piece of advice that you would give to a new teacher to calm nerves, what would it be?

Katherine said...

With Georgia's list of subject areas that have severe teacher shortages, there are many different ways for individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than education to become an educator. What type of certification program did you complete at GSU?
Was it solely for certification purposes or did you earn a degree? Would you recommend that program to other teacher candidates? Knowing what you know now, would you have gone about receiving certification in some other way?

Todd Bussard said...

I have considered being a teacher for while now, but don't have an education certificate. I would like to continue studying English after grad school, but don't know if I should try to get a degree in education instead. When I finish my master's, do you think trying to get a job at a junior college would be wiser that trying to teach at a puclic high school?

BethanyBishopGriggs said...

I have been teaching English in public schools for four years. For the past two years I’ve been teaching at the high school level, and while I’ve had extremely bright students, they are tremendously unmotivated. I have tried everything I can think of to motivate them, but they remain uninterested in academics. Do you have any suggestions for motivating apathetic students?

Leslie said...

Lauren -- I'm looking forward to keeping up with your new blog. I'm a new HS teacher -- just finished my first year after 30 years in the broadcasting and communications business. First year -- thumbs up! I taught 9th and senior Brit Lit and will do so again this coming year. Despite the fact that I think I did pretty well, I sure wish I'd had your blog to check in with last year. BTW -- I got my MAPW at KSU in '04, and to answer a previous post about certification programs: I earned my MA in Teaching in '07, also at KSU. Sixteen months (four semesters) in a cohort program and I ended up with the MA and full certificate. It was worth it.

Andrew Schmidt said...

Hi Lauren. My mother was an early childhood education professor here at KSU until she retired last year. I know she has always enjoyed teaching - do you think that teaching is something that takes a certain personality? I am amazed at my mom's patience with people, both young and old, students or non-students.

Chris said...

I can't imagine how ill prepared you feel after only a certification program - in my province, we have a 4 year Bachelor of Education degree, where almost a full year is spent teaching and observing in classrooms of practicing teachers. And, even with this training, 33% of our teachers quit in the first 5 years! Your blog is a great idea, and needed - keep it up!

Lauren said...

Thank you for your support, y'all! I'm happy to share my knowledge!

Dee Larry said...

There are so many Certification Programs! How do I choose the right one?