Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

The possibilities a new school year brings August 22, 2010

Filed under: school — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:50 pm

A good friend of mine got a job teaching fifth grade in a nearby town. He got his job Friday. School starts Monday. I know this happens all around the country each school year, but it has me thinking.

I spent the day providing an orientation for the new teacher of our districts. I had the opportunity to look over years of new teacher orientation information. I was able to talk to all the people over the summer who had a part in orientation in the past. I spent out drafts of the outline for the day. And revised. And revised, and revised. Then was able to reflect back on all the things I wish someone had told me for my first school year (a whole other post) and then tuck those tidbits in throughout the day.

He spent the day procuring a job for the new school year.

Where else is there a job that requires you to be able to do the same job on Day 1 of year 1 as Day 180 of year 35?

Let’s say he was hired Friday to start Monday in a bank. Or in a law firm.

He would go to his first meeting Monday and orientation or the training period would begin.  Someone would make sure he understood the specific culture/expectations for his new workplace. Even though he would come with a wonderful background of college and advanced degree learning, each bank or law firm would have their own rules and procedures they would start teaching him during his training period.

My friend, and other teachers around the country, will be assigned a mentor. An experienced teacher who will answer questions and hopefully have time to look out for him. The mentor will, of course, have their own classroom and all the full responsibilities to come with it.

While most new teachers are trained in classroom management, communication, and many other important “non-academic” areas, my friend and all new teachers will need to be ready to go when the kids arrive. He will need his classroom management plan and lesson plans for the first day. The kids (and their parents) don’t want to know that he spent all weekend trying to get ready. It’s expected.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Another layer-it’s not as easy as just deciding for himself what he will expect within his own classroom walls. He will need to make sure it complements his team members’ management plans and supports his building plan. It’s Sunday before school starts Monday. While he might be lucky and find a teacher in the building willing to take the time to explain some of those nuances, he might have to wait until Monday morning, and then try to make revisions during lunch on Monday. Of course he won’t have a computer log-on of his own yet, but he can probably use someone else’s computer.

When it’s all said and done, he will do great when those kids walk in the door, and they’ll never suspect he even broke a sweat trying to get ready. After all, isn’t that what all teachers do to make sure the new school year is ready for the kids?

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