Did you get enough support when you first started teaching?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by waits5, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2018

    This is really sad that so many new teachers don't get the support they need. And it seems like a lot of new teachers end up non-renewed after their first year, which is ridiculous because the first year is so much more difficult overall.

    That said, I was really fortunate my first year. My mentor teacher was amazing, my team worked really well together and were super supportive, and I got tons of support from my admin. The whole year was a struggle, but I never felt like I had to figure it out on my own. My mentor was always ready to jump in and model something for me; I actually had him do coaching cycles with me for almost every subject and it was incredibly helpful.
    I did find out this past year that apparently that gave the impression that I was unprepared or needed a lot of help (like I couldn't do anything on my own) when my thought process was that I wanted to learn how to teach certain things really well the first year while I had the mentorship support so I didn't have to struggle the next year, but oh well. I still have a job, so whatever.

    Having support is great, but apparently taking advantage of it can send the wrong message, so new teachers are in a tough spot either way.
     
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  2. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 13, 2018

    My first year, I felt like I had no support. I switched districts after that year, and my second year was way better. The biggest help for me was having administration I felt like really supported me and cared. My principal did an early observation and then we conferenced about it. He made me feel so at ease and like he'd always back me up. He also made me feel like my opinion was valued right from the start.
    My mentor was also extremely approachable. I felt like I could ask her anything and everything and she wouldn't be annoyed or frustrated. That to me was one of the biggest pieces. I was someone who wanted a lot of reassurance that what I was doing was fine and would work fine because of how I was treated at my first school.
     
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  3. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jul 13, 2018

    My school has two TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignment): one for STEAM and another for ELA. Any teacher (veteran or not) can reach out to them for assistance. Additionally, every new teacher gets a mentor for two years while they’re going through BTSA. Any teacher with 5+ years of classroom experience can become a mentor, so the screening process is very limited, unfortunately...

    I check in with the new teachers as much as I can. For example, prior to iReady testing, I normally shoot and email stating, “Testing starts tomorrow! I know I’ve trained you, but I’d love to stop by to help get you or your kiddos get logged in. Let me know!”

    I like to catch them in person, too (normally just in passing). I’ll ask if they’ve received all their ELA materials, for example, or if the TOSA stopped by to get their students logged into Think Central.

    I know I’m peppy and energetic, but when they’re successful, the kids are successful! I just want everyone to have the tools for success (hopefully, I never come across as “too helpful” because we’ve all met that person).
     
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  4. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    Jul 13, 2018

    I’m a pretty introverted person, so I’m not going to seek out others for help. I feel like there would be a lot of support around me if I just sought it out. I prefer to figure things out on my own, and I feel that it’s worked well for me but I know others prefer to have that guidance.
     
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  5. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2018

    I didn't get the help I needed. The help I got involved my 'mentor' sitting in the back of my classroom all day every day and then yelling at me for two hours every day after school. She drove me to attempted suicide, in fact the only reason I'm alive is because a cop got a feeling he needed to stop at this park and ride I was sitting at. After two years of this I tried to resign, at which point my principal realized I was serious about this woman getting off my back. He asked me to stay one more year and forbade her from contact with me.
    My skills at this point are self-taught and help from a very small circle of people who I grew to trust over the years. As time went on I learned I was not the only victim of this woman, even very experienced teachers (one with 20+ years, and one with nearly 50 years) wound up being her victim. There are about 10 teachers who had very similar experiences with her, who I found solidarity with.
    But I survived, my career survived, and now I regularly score in the highest scoring 20% of teachers in my district.
     
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  6. waits5

    waits5 Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2018

    So sorry to hear about your negative experience. It's too bad that one bad apple can have such a big influence. So glad that you stayed in the profession. It sounds like you have lots of inner strength!
     
  7. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Jul 20, 2018

    My state teams everyone up with a mentor for two years in an induction program. My mentor happened to be at another site. She was great. She was available for questions, but wasn't overly demanding like some I'd heard about. My situation was different because I'd had several years of subbing under my belt before I had to deal with my own class. I'd already mastered the challenges of classroom management and some of the other pitfalls that new teachers are faced with and I did it without any support, because nobody pays attention to what subs do.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.

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