there’s nothing that says “australia’s weather is messed up” quite like the fact that our fire danger system doesnt just stop at “extreme”
and that the second lowest setting is ‘high’
As someone who finished their student teaching last fall, and is starting their first year as a lead teacher at the elementary level, and is currently feeling very overwhelmed and lost/confused, here is some advice for you:
1) Ask a lot of questions, even the dumb ones. If you don’t know what an acronym stands for, ask! If you don’t know how to handle a situation with a difficult student, ask! If you are unsure how a student’s IEP is being followed, ask! If you aren’t sure how to word something to a parent, ask! Also ask why teachers chose to have the structures and procedures that they do, like the organizational systems, the chairs, tables rather than desks, the decorative aspects of the classroom. I wish I had asked a lot more questions, especially those concerning balancing personal life/work. Also ask where they buy the things that they have! That will save you a lot of time from spending hours going to store to store the weekend before you start teaching. Also figure out how they were able to adhere the things they have, like if they’re using velcro, magnetic tape, mounting tap, to hang up posters, attach name tags, etc.
2) Take criticism in stride. Don’t feel like you’re being too harshly criticized or feel like your mentor is unfairly judging your teaching. And don’t get pouty when they try to offer you constructive feedback; your mentor is there to support you to become a better teacher! You will appreciate that they were honest and upfront with you, rather than telling you what you wanted to hear.
3) You’re supposed to be bad at teaching in the beginning. You’ve never done it before, and no one is good at teaching when they first get started. The sooner you come to terms with how bad you are, the sooner you can get better at it. Reflection is the key to getting better at teaching.
4) Take a multi-vitamin, eat lunch, and get a lot of rest. If this is your first time being around kids for an extended period of time, you will get sick. a lot. I was sick every other week.
5) Talk to other staff in your school, and appreciate the community/support that you have, especially among your classmates. If you are hired at a school like mine, you will miss gripe sessions with people who are in similar situations and who understand what it is like to be a new teacher who has little idea of what they are doing. And if you are student teaching with other student teachers, it is very nice to have them as a support system, but you will learn more if you talk to actual in-service teachers.
6) Photocopy and take pictures of everything your mentor teacher is doing, especially of routines that are in place. I didn’t realize that when I would be starting as a new teacher, that I would be starting from scratch. I very wrongly assumed that I would remember the first day of school games, activities, and procedures we went over, but I didn’t, and documenting these things would have saved me a lot of time googling.
7) Ask to observe teachers other than your co-op, especially in other grade levels. There will be talented, veteran teachers in your school who have excellent control of their classroom and plan engaging lessons for their students, both of which you will want to emulate. It is hard to mimic what you haven’t gotten a chance to see. There is also the very likely possibility that you will get hired in a grade level different from the one you student taught in. For example, in third grade, we never did morning meetings. Now that I’m in first, I have a limited idea of how to make my morning meetings and calendar time flow in an engaging way for my students, or what a first grade classroom should feel like.
8) Say yes to everything, teaching-wise. Don’t feel like you aren’t ready to take over lead teaching for every subject, and then not teach everything. As a full-time teacher, you will be teaching everything, and it will be hard for you to adjust to that if you haven’t had that experience. When I was student teaching, I taught 90% of the time, but I wish I had gotten a chance to teach the rest of that 10%, because that is where my weaknesses are.
9) Take part in administrative things that are separate from the actual teaching. Grade papers/quizzes, input grades, write letters home, correspond with parents, sit in on I&RS and IEP meetings…while these things aren’t typically associated with the responsibilities of a lead teacher, you will need to know how to do these things when you finally do become a teacher, and you will be glad that you are ready for them when the time comes.
10) I really ran out of steam during the last one, so just enjoy it! Get to know your kids. They are adorable, and you will miss them. They are the first students that you will ever really have, and let them know how much you care about them, too.
I am currently completing a Bach. of Education - Primary. The job situation for primary trained teachers is pretty bleak. A few days ago we had a talk from Education Queensland as they are trying to get primary trained teachers into secondary schools because of the yr 7 shift and the creation of Junior Secondary Schooling.
They are trying to get us to undertake a middle years unit next year, and apply to teach in the middle years. There are more job opportunities and they say they provide heaps of Professional Development opportunities to prepare you, but I have to apply for middle years positions first in February 2014. If I get a middle years position then I will miss out on teaching in a primary school which is my first preference and has always been my dream. Any advice/opinions about teaching the middle years (7-9) or this situation in general? Im so conflicted.
Im tempted to only apply for primary because i haven’t been trained to teach in a high school and i dont know how it would go and/or how different it is to primary. I also feel I have set myself up pretty well for a job after uni. My GPA should be over 6.0 by the end of this semester, I am undertaking a rural prac with a Beyond the Range Professional Experience Grant which is meant to give me preferential employment, I am going to be part of the SCIL pathway next year, and I am also willing to go anywhere in QLD.
I am just scared I am going to turn this opportunity down and miss out on a job all together.
What do I do?
From my personal blog. Help!