Intern Teacher Advice
(continued from the
first Intern Teacher Advice page)
(IF NOT ALL) NEW TEACHERS WILL STRUGGLE DURING THEIR INTERN YEAR
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.
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.
is an impossible expectation, and can lead to many obstacles and
THINGS CAN A NEW TEACHER DO TO PROTECT HIM OR HERSELF?
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?
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.
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
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.
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!
FELLOW STUDENTS HAVE HAD SOME GOOD EXPERIENCES, TOO...
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
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
would be greatly encouraged by a professional induction program
that lasted more than a couple of days, too.
the good side, I did learn a lot. They were not always easy lessons,
but they were good ones.
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
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.
find out what makes a good new teacher induction system, or what
it looks like, you can go
to the TeacherNet site.
hope this advice has been helpful to you.
new teachers, please Contact me with
more ideas and advice or links to add to this page. Thanks!
YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE BEEN UNFAIRLY TREATED, THERE
IS SOMEWHERE YOU CAN GO!
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.
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!