by Diana Remick, Monthly Columnist
Welcome to your new career!
What an exciting yet busy time for you as new teacher graduates with the completion of student teaching, a college degree in education, applications, resumes, and interviews!
You now find yourself starting a new career educating our youth. What are some things you might expect?
Tips and Advice for New Teacher Graduates
First of all, plan on spending some time with your Principal, Instructional Coach, or New Teacher Mentor to learn the programs and curriculum the school uses. Whether you are an elementary teacher or a secondary teacher it is important to know this information before school starts! You will need to be informed about all the different content areas and courses you will be teaching. You do NOT need to be an expert but you do need to have an idea of the structure or programs you are using before you can create a schedule or lesson plans.
Next, become familiar with the materials in your classroom, YES YOUR CLASSROOM! It is important that you don’t throw anything away. You will probably need to get clearance from an administrator before doing so anyhow. You may find items that you don’t think you will need but if it was left in the classroom then it might just have a purpose. I remember when I started at my new school seven years ago I found several PVC pipes. My first instinct was to throw them away but instead I just placed them in a cupboard. Later I learned they were homemade whisper phones. I use them daily now and it would have been unfortunate had I thrown them away.
Finally, please take the time to get to know the staff in your building. Everyone in the school system plays a critical role in the success of the school. It is important that you get to know everyone and the role they play. Get to know the custodians right away. They are in your classroom every day helping you keep your room ready for students. Find out what their expectations are as far as stacking chairs, cleaning, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask your custodians for advice or suggestions. I remember rearranging my classroom many times only to find that it did not work for me. Once I asked for advice from my dear friend Mr. Kenny, the custodian, I had the set up that I still use today. You see, he had seen other educators in that room and he knew what worked! Keep in mind that your students will take your lead in how you treat your custodians and other staff members; please show them the respect that they deserve!
The school secretaries are a tremendous help in the day-to-day activities that take place in a school building. The school secretaries are the GO TO GALS (or GUYS). They can assist you with many questions you will have. It is important to note that they have a great deal of responsibilities so please be patient if your questions are not addressed right away. The school cooks are usually the most popular adults with the students because they provide them with one of their most basic needs, FOOD, and they don’t ask for much in return. As with all the staff, get to know them by name. I am sure you learned in college that building relationships are essential so why not start with the staff you are going to be working with!
Congratulations on starting an amazing and rewarding career!
About the Author
Diana Remick is currently a 2nd grade teacher in La Junta, Colorado. She has been an elementary educator for 18 years. Mrs. Remick earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s degree in Reading and Linguistically Diverse Education from Adams State College.