Dear sweet Lord, what have I gotten myself into?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by thatgirlyouknow, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. thatgirlyouknow

    thatgirlyouknow Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 5, 2010

    Just like most everyone here who's started a new thread, I am a new teacher. I graduated over the summer (last Monday) with a degree in English and was hired for an English III position the day after. School starts on the 18th. Also, grad school starts on the 22nd. (I'm pursuing my MA in English through an online program at my local university.)

    I am scared witless. I'm generally an outgoing person and I LOVE English. I think my main concern is just going into that first class on the first day and having my students STARE at me while I'm completely clueless. Don't get me wrong - I'm preparing. I'm reviewing the curriculum and trying to start a lessong plan (although I have no idea how I'm "really" supposed to do that), but I'm afraid I'm going to come off as being a total fraud (which is how I feel for some reason.)

    I know the subject. I love the subject. It's being in the administrative role that I'm not used to. I'm teaching at the HS I graduated from (which was 8 years ago) and I've been an outside coach for their cheerleading organization for those 8 years, so I'm used to being their informal coach/friend. I definitely want them to feel that they can come to me and talk to me about things, but I also don't want them to see me and take me for a fool right off the bat.

    I don't know what I'm trying to say. I'm just nervous as hell. :(
     
  2.  
  3. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,625
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 5, 2010

    Breath, you can do this...after all they hired you out of all the thousands that probably submitted applications.

    Prepare! That is all you can do.

    Also, Im not sure where Cajun County is but it seems that if someone was from around there, then they would be able to figure out your identity from this post and you wouldnt want them knowing how you are thinking "but I'm afraid I'm going to come off as being a total fraud (which is how I feel for some reason.)"
    Just my opinion, since it is the internet and things get around quickly.

    Good Luck!!!! You CAN do this!
     
  4. thatgirlyouknow

    thatgirlyouknow Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 5, 2010

    Haha. I'm trying to breathe! :]

    I'm preparing as much as someone who hasn't taken any education classes can, I suppose, but I'm afraid it isn't enough. Is that normal? To be in a continual state of preparation but still feel like it isn't enough?

    As for the Cajun thing, it's actually Country, not county, which is just a silly way of saying Louisiana. I'll probably change it anyway, though. Thanks!
     
  5. thatgirlyouknow

    thatgirlyouknow Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 5, 2010

    Also, I think the whole "fraudulent" feeling I have is based on what everyone keeps telling me: Don't smile 'til Christmas. I think that line of thought is a little outdated, but I DO know it's easier to start off strict and ease up a bit as the semester continues as opposed to starting off easy and getting more strict.

    I suppose I'm so used to the my wonderfully open and loosely-structured college department that it seems almost "fraudulent" to for me to attempt to teach in any other way.

    Hahaha. That probably makes no sense. It's been a stressful summer.
     
  6. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,625
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 5, 2010

    It totally makes sense, and I know what you mean...its so easy to doubt yourself and think you're not ready no matter how ready you really are!

    Did you student teach at this school also? Do they require a mentor teacher for new teachers in Louisianna?
     
  7. wildcatrider

    wildcatrider Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 5, 2010

    Good luck to you. I'm also new, I have all the ed and content classes and I feel apprehensive at times. Thia will be an interesting year.
     
  8. thatgirlyouknow

    thatgirlyouknow Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 5, 2010

    Diva - yes, I coached some of the girls at this school, although I think most will be freshmen and sophomores at this point, so I won't actually be teaching them yet. As for the mentor thing, I'm not really sure. I know practically nothing, so far. The school holds this sort of inservice thing two days before school starts and, from what I understand, most of that kind of information is given in the meetings. I have friends who teach, but none who teach this age level.

    Wildcat - good luck to you, too!
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 6, 2010

    OK, here's what you do:

    1. continune with your lesson plans. One of the easiest ways to lose the respect of high school kids is to let them think they know more than you do. So Plan plan plan plan. Overplan. If your class is 45 mnutes, have enough work for 60. In the beginning, it's pretty hard to judge just how much you can get done in one class period. In fact, after teaching since 1980, I still can't nail it down every single day; what gets done 2nd period is seldom exactly the same as 6th or 8th.

    2. Ignore the whole "don't smile till Christmas" thing. Instead, determine which rules and policies are important to you, in addition to the ones that are schoolwide. (Do NOT ignore them, even if you can't see their point. The quickest way to make an enemy of the faculty is to be the one who doesn't enforce a rule that they have to enforce. And the kids know the rules, so they peg you as a sucker right away.) Once you know your policies, enforce them EVERY SINGLE TIME. Consistency is key. Decide on your rules then enforce them all year long. If it's important in September, it's still important in May.

    3. Think about how you'll do the small routines. Will you check homework daily? Collect it weekly? Think about starting a thread asking English teachers how they manage the details. You'll also want to know how to balance the different components of English-- how to schedule spelling and LIteratre and vocab and the rest.

    4. You mention the loose structure of college. Make no mistake-- that is NOT what you'll be doing. These are high school kids. No matter how adult they think they are, they're kids. Structure is your friend, and they thrive in a structured atmosphere.

    5. In your spare time (no joke intended) take a look at an SAT prep book-- Barrons or something similar. Your Juniors will be taking the SATs in May. You'll want to incorporate SAT prep here and there throughout the year. Look into strategies.

    6. Think about what consititutes "professional dress" in your school, then go one tiny degree more formal because you're young. Invest in some professional but comfortable shoes. Think about what you're going to use to carry your papers-- that old backpack just SCREAMS "student!" The kids, and their parents, are going to base their first impression on your appearance, and you want it to be the right one.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    15

    Aug 6, 2010

    ThatGirl -

    I teach English III, do you know what literature your students will cover (likely depends on what is available in your room, though LOTS of stuff is becoming available online, sometimes free). I maybe can share materials if you give me some details.

    Also, I recommend reading 'The First Days of School' by Harry Wong. Personally, I found some of it to be too elementary, and I had to adapt most of it my 'style' but it gives a thorough description of all of the procedures of a classroom (part of the administrative part you are worried about) and ideas how to get them going in the classroom.

    Are you responsible for reading, writing, speaking and listening (the typical scope of language arts) or, are your classes set up as literature classes, writing classes, etc?

    Get your state standards (can find them online probably at your state's dept of education) and use those as your starting point. If find it easier to ask myself "where do I need students to be, what do I need them to show me they can do" and plan backwards from there.

    As for lesson planning, your school may have a system they require. If not, I keep track of the objective I'm teaching, what standard I'm hitting and what activities students will do for those ... it is an informal list on an online calendar. However, when I first started teaching, I had more of a "script" in front of me that included things like 'students turn in,' 'get writing notebook,' etc. But, that is all second nature now.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,424
    Likes Received:
    596

    Aug 6, 2010

    Hey, I taught English 3 in Louisiana last year. Let me know if I can help you with anything! To add to what others said:

    1. In Louisiana, as you know, most students take the ACT, not the SAT, so make sure you are familiar with how it's different.

    2. Louisiana no longer funds the teacher assistance/assessment program (LaTaap) so new teachers are not given official mentors nor made to go through the program. However, good schools will assign buddy teachers to new teachers. At best, get in your classroom early and introduce yourself to all of the people around you. Ask questions! When is back-to-school night? What do they give students on the first day? What do they have students do on the first day? What are the procedures for restrooms? The library? Ask for advice setting up your room!
     
  12. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 6, 2010

    HS English teacher here..I agree with everything Aliceacc stated, especially regarding dress. Because you are young, many students will want to think of you as a peer instead of an authority figure. I believe appearance is critical for maintaining your position as the authority. I wore dark-colored suits my first year (even though I was older) because I wanted kids to focus on what I was saying, not what I was wearing. We've had a few young female teachers who were noticed for their "cute" shoes or earrings vs. what they were teaching, and of course, there are always the guys who think the new teacher is "hot." I know this because they would come to my class and tell me what Ms. ____ was wearing that day!
     
  13. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 6, 2010

    Thatgirlyouknow -- Been there, done that.

    I felt exactly how you feel now when I received my teaching credential. The feeling you're probably feeling is "Okay, so I learned about [X], but I know that there is [Y], [Z], (and every other letter of the alphabet) that I'm forgetting about!"

    But you came here.

    That's exactly what I did too, and it has turned my confidence completely around.

    Also -- and I cannot stress this enough -- please buy Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones. This is a complete "How to be a Teacher" in a book.

    It fills in the "[Y], [Z], plus everything else" that you worry about as someone who has never taught before.

    And, unlike Harry Wong, it deals almost exclusively with high school.

    Anyway, good luck -- and congratulations!
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Aug 6, 2010

    Well, congratulations because this is definitely an exciting time for you. I agree with the above posters. I would also add to go in there with confidence. Even if you feel scared, don't let them know! Also, are you going to be able to handle grad school and year one of teaching?? That seems like a lot to handle, but good luck!
     
  15. ms.

    ms. Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 6, 2010

    @eddygirl: I love Lands' End clearance, there are so many comfortable dressy clothes. :D (I'm 23 am often though to be under 18.)

    ---------

    I didn't sleep very well the first few days after I got the job, I was a little anxious. However, I'm getting excited about next year. I think it's natural to be a little worried of the unknown. I just think of all I've accomplished, and know that I'll do fine.
     
  16. thatgirlyouknow

    thatgirlyouknow Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 6, 2010


    #3 - I'm not sure yet. I don't know how many grades per six weeks the principal wants yet. I probably won't find out until two days before school starts. I've been thinking that I'd have one paper per 6 weeks and 5 main tests - all of which would count for 60% of their 6 week grade. The other 40% would be split between homework (which I wouldn't check everyday, but would sporatically check for completion so they wouldn't know when I was grading or not - hopefully making them do it regularly), quizzes, and a participation grade. I don't know if this is even remotely doable, but it's the rough plan I have.

    #4 - I definitely want to have structure, I just want to find that happy place I found in college - just in a high school setting. Loose isn't exactly what I'm looking for; I should've found a better word. I want them to enjoy a subject I LOVE. I know every student won't come over to the dark side :p, but I'd like to make them see how relevant literature and grammar are to their lives, which is something I didn't really learn until college because of the style of teaching I was exposed to in high school.... But I don't know. I know I'm starting out with ideals and those rarely work out 100%.


    Yes, I know what literature we'll be covering and I get to change some of it to a certain degree, if I want. I'll stick to the book for the most part in the beginning and switch it up after midterms since that's when we'll really be getting into the stuff I love. It's starting out with Colonial America, then Revolutionary America, then the early 20th century, then late 20th century. (I think I'm missing one thing; not too sure.)

    I'm also responsible for all of those things. We'll incorporate grammar, vocabulary, essays, and presentations into whatever literary unit we're covering.



    It seems scary to me, too, but I've sort of had this kind of work-load for a while now. I'm a single mom with a 4 year old and, for the last three years, I've held down one full-time job, a part-time job, and cheerleading-coaching over the summers all while being in school full time. (And my daughter only went to daycare - never really stayed with anyone outside of "business hours.") I feel like if I don't just jump into it now, I'll lose the... fight.... I guess, I've been using for so long. If I take a break now, I may never want to go back! Haha!
     
  17. thatgirlyouknow

    thatgirlyouknow Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 6, 2010

    Also: thank you for all of your responses!!! You ladies are wonderful. :]
     
  18. brejohnson88

    brejohnson88 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2010

    Best of luck to you. I think you should be firm but fun as well. I am a young new teacher too (only 22), except I am teaching 3-5 year olds :) However, my biggest concern is what parents are going to think of me because I am so young. I keep telling myself to breath. I went to college, I got a degree, I landed the job, and now I have to be confident and cant let them know I am scared to death. Keep your cool and never let the students know you are scared (they will eat your alive!) I agree with dressing the part too since you are young. Good luck :)
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 7, 2010

    You're welcome!

    But Unbeknownst is a man :)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 327 (members: 0, guests: 302, robots: 25)
test