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College Graduates as New Teachers…The New Journey!

By: Donna Hupe
Posted Wed., September 5, 2012

As the school year begins, teachers will be greeting not only new students but also first year teachers. Experienced teachers and administrators will be engaged in mentoring these new educators so that the transition from college graduation to the classroom can be successful.

The first year of teaching students can be challenging and, at the same time, a wonderful experience that will lay the foundation for many years ahead. Colleagues and administrators will offer various pieces of advice whenever it comes to presenting lessons, working with parents, and meeting the needs of each student in the classroom. The most progressive schools will provide special in-service training support to the first year teachers so that they can continue to evolve as leaders in the classrooms.

Among the “ABCs For First Year Teachers”, published by Education World, one specific tip stands out among the others. This one is linked with “H” and states “Have the courage to try something else if what you're doing isn't working”. New teachers will discover that some teaching strategies can be very successful while others may need improved. The most successful teachers agree that whenever something does not work during a lesson…it is best to re-examine that lesson and make changes as needed.

One suggestion regarding how to do this involves the use of post-it-notes. It is important that teachers reflect on how the lessons were executed and whether the students were engaged in a successful learning experience. In the situation when a lesson may have not been as successful as the new teacher had hoped, writing down notes regarding what happened and what should change can be very beneficial. Specific notes written on post-it-notes can easily be placed within the teacher resource book as reminders for teaching follow-up lessons and/or lessons during the second year of teaching.

It is also recommended that when lessons and/or strategies are successful, new teachers make note of those. These notes can act as encouragement to the first year teacher. One tip is to color code the post-it-notes. For example, yellow notes would indicate ideas regarding improvement while green notes designate the strategies that should be used again.

Congratulations to all Saint Vincent College education majors who have been hired and are teaching for the first time in classrooms. The Education Department wishes you success and hope that you will continue to stay in touch as you embark on your first year!

Below is a list of a few helpful websites that provide important information for first year teachers:

http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/FirstYear/ch3.html
(Tips and Strategies from First Year Teachers)

http://teacher.scholastic.com/back_to_school/
(back to school ideas for preK-12 teachers)

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Donna Hupe,
Education

Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.