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More Intern Teacher Advice

(continued from the first Intern Teacher Advice page)


Most teachers do struggle during their first year. It is a time of making mistakes and learning from them. It requires a lot of reflection and hard work. Some teachers are given lots of help, including lesson plans from other, seasoned teachers, and a continuing "how-to" curriculum and hands-on help in the classroom.

Other school systems may place many hard to control students in new teacher's classes as a matter of course as a way of awarding more senior teachers for their hard work and experience, and expect the new teacher to be able to deal with any kind of problem without help and without ever making a mistake.

This is an impossible expectation, and can lead to many obstacles and problems.


My advice is to talk with as many other teachers as you can at any school you are thinking of teaching at BEFORE you accept the job. Each school system is different. And make sure to ask LOTS of questions. What was their first year like? Were they an intern teacher at the school you are considering?

Make sure to check and make sure you will be given the help you will need, and won't be required to "go it on your own." Of course, there is not way to guarantee this, but you may want to see the actual lesson plans that other teachers plan to share with you before signing on that proverbial dotted line of no return.

I would make sure I had a phone in my classroom that dialed out to all locations, that my computer, email, heater and/or air conditioning all worked properly before I accepted the job, and that I would receive plenty of hands-on help and lesson plans IN THE CLASSROOM from a teacher that was not part of my grading team starting from day one.

I would also make sure that there was a good boy-girl ratio (about 50/50) in my classrooms, and make sure that all students' records were made available to me before classes begun, and that pre-testing for grade level was allowed, so as to be able to help students at all levels in my classroom.

I would ask to be allowed to set up a computer area with at least 3-4 extra computers that were connected to the internet in my classroom, and have this set up before the first class, in order to offer my students a place to be rewarded for good behavior, and a place to let groups work and research in class in case the library was overcrowded. I think the kids would really like this!


I don't want to give the impression that all school systems can be unfriendly or more difficult to intern teachers, only that you need to find the best one you possibly can before investing the time and effort into your intern year and possibly having a bad experience.

I have heard several good stories from my fellow students. One said that her fellow teachers freely shared all of their lesson plans and she was able to use them all in her class. She was so lucky to have such giving co-workers who cared enough to help her and take time out from their busy schedule.

Another (experienced) teacher told me that he was given coursebooks that included lesson plans and tests. These things can be invaluable to new teachers, especially help from other, more experienced teachers. "I never have to worry about not having the Kentucky Standards built right in," he said. Indeed, his books and quizzes in the books all were Kentucky Standards-based. He even had overheads and computer aids that came with the book. This (of course) made his life a LOT easier.

One student told me that although the first year was very difficult, she had a very understanding mentor who let her know that she was going to help her through it. No matter how hard it got, she knew she could count on this mentor to help her through it.

I'm sure that meant a lot to that new, intern teacher to have somebody help her no matter what, and get her through the tough times. This mentor came through and helped the new intern with constructive advice and a lot of help.

Another new teacher confided to me that another teacher even handed her daily lesson plans! This happened in the very school I was teaching in. This is not the norm, as I found out, and this was a very lucky intern teacher indeed.

On the minus side, while I was doing my student teaching, I also met some student teachers that never wanted to go ahead with their intern work. The teacher they were assigned to did not help them through the tough times, and the students were allowed to pretty much use this student teacher as a doormat. He was emotionally exhausted at the end of the semester, and was sorry he chose teaching.

At the time, I was sure that this would never happen to me, and I was excited about my future teaching experiences. Nervous, yes, but excited at the same time.


Maybe. But this time I will be sure to ask the needed questions before accepting the job, like "do you have a good teacher induction system?" It is not enough to just receive a pamphlet about school rules and be assigned a mentor. The mentor might be too busy or not know how to teach a new teacher the ropes.

I would be greatly encouraged by a professional induction program that lasted more than a couple of days, too.

On the good side, I did learn a lot. They were not always easy lessons, but they were good ones.

To sum up, to be a teacher and be able to stick with it you need to remember to do your homework on the school first. It does not help to just work as hard as you possibly can, and to have a good attitude.

Your school system, the other teachers in the school, the parents, and ALL of the administration MUST work with you to help you succeed. Are they willing to do that? Or will they just mostly keep to themselves? Best to find out BEFORE you sign up.

To find out what makes a good new teacher induction system, or what it looks like, you can go to the TeacherNet site.

I hope this advice has been helpful to you.

Other new teachers, please Contact me with more ideas and advice or links to add to this page. Thanks!


If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, or have been bullied as a new teacher, you can contact (#1) your union, if you have paid the union dues already, or (#2) NAPTA.

The NAPTA site has a lot of advice for new or experienced teachers who are having problems on the job.

For new or transfer teachers, there are a lot of stories there about unfair school systems that you can avoid.

And they even have some T-shirts -but you might have to be careful where you wear them!

Get some free lesson plan links


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