I Don't Know what I'm DOING!!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by scared, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. scared

    scared New Member

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I worked as a Social Worker in my district and they are realllly short on teachers. I have been interested in teaching and They convinced me to sign up with an alternative certification program and within two weeks passed my TExES exam and was hired as a third grade teacher. I have NO experience as a teacher, not even student teaching. I need help. I'm sure I will learn a lot in my training but I would like to get the ball rolling as I only have 4 weeks. So, a few questions:

    1) How do you start from scratch not knowing anything about teaching and lesson plans? Do the schools provide a format with what you need to teach or do teachers have free reign over what they teach and when as long as it coincides with the TEKS?

    2) Tips on organization once I do get started.

    3) OMG what am I doing I'm insane!?!?! I know I can ask the school any of this but I kindof want to put on that I know more than I really do. I don't want them to regret their decision.
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    One step at a time. Get used to the idea of being a teacher. Then start the planning. We can all help out with that part.
     
  4. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2010

    We will be here to help you through. First, look through your curriculum and your state standards. Firgure out what you need to teach first. Then think about your room arrangement and how you want your class to run day to day. Try and get as much organized as you can without overwhelming yourself. Make a list as the year goes on. Things that worked and things that need changed. If you have to change it right then, do it. But if it can wait, then wait. Focus on one thing at a time and you will be fine. MAKE LOTS OF LISTS! This helped me tremendously. Good Luck and have fun!
     
  5. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    We will help you get through things as they come. As you come up with questions, post them, and you will get tons of different ideas and viewpoints.

    In return, under the Job Seekers board, please post any district vacancies... I know there are a lot of really great teachers on our forum without a classroom. Help them out!
     
  6. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    I don't think you should put on that you know more than you really do. Ask tons of questions and don't assume anything! My school usually gets about 6 new teachers each year with no teaching experience just like you and they ask tons of questions. We are very willing to help them. In education they teach you to beg, borrow and steal and that's just what you will do with your colleagues (though I don't know how much I like the use of the word steal...). Anyway, I work in Texas and my district has a set curriculum based on the TEKS but it still allows for a lot of personal planning and creativity. It's more like a timeline of when things should be taught by and in what specific order. I've been in two other districts in Texas and they were both similar to the one I'm in now with how the curriculum functioned.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 26, 2010

    Most districts have a breakdown of scope and sequence for your curriculum-it all depends on your school the reign you have over that. A good question to ask (and it won't make you look like a novice) is if they subscribe to a certain math and reading program.

    Another thing I would do is contact the P and see if they can put you in contact with another teacher on your team-hopefully they can mentor you a little bit on the planning aspect.

    I think it's great you took this on. They won't regret their decision-and don't let anyone make you feel like less of a teacher for going this route. I was sitting in on some interviews recently with our admins and really the teachers who are leaders on our campus-the applicant was talking about competing with people with no experience who had gone through ACP. We all kind of looked at each other and I'm sure she felt a little uncomfortable because all but one of us in that room had started out with the ACP program. There's nothing like trial by fire! This forum is incredible for ideas and guidance-you'll get addicted, trust me! Good luck! :thumb:
     
  8. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I highly recommend you read the book by Harry Wong called "The first days of school." It contains practical advice for newbie teachers on all the basics.

    Also if you haven't been assigned a mentor teacher you need to seek one out in your grade level to become BFF's with. :hugs:
     
  9. teacherheath

    teacherheath Companion

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I also really really love the book The Cornerstone for Teachers by Angela Powell. I think it's really comprehensive as far as ideas for organizing, teaching routines, etc.
     
  10. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Wow! No experience whatsoever huh! Here's what I'd do if I were you...I don't know how fast you read, but 4 wks isn't that much time to read through a ton of books. But, go to your library or bookstore TOMORROW & get books that look good. Definitely get a book about classroom mgmt & how to handle behavioral problems.

    Look up websites. Google phrases such as:

    how to handle beh problems
    classroom mgmt
    writing lesson plans
    how to deal w/ your students' parents

    Befriend as many teachers as you can. Go to lunch together. See if they can kind of guide you, especially the other 3rd gr teachers at your school.

    I felt like this too when I was not only a brand new teacher, but the only special ed teacher on campus. I asked if they could set me up w/ a mentor teacher to help me out. The 3 people who helped me the most was my BTSA teacher, school pscyhologist, & mentor special ed teacher. The thing was, none of them actually worked on my campus so they were either at their own school or floated around, so I had to make plenty of phone calls to track them down w/ questions & set up days/times to meet w/ them to talk over things.

    Good luck & keep us posted on how your 1st week & after goes!

     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Can I ask what part of Texas you're from? Not specific, but general location?

    I am going to try to word this very carefully, because as we all know, typed words can come across as more harsh than in person. I am happy for you that you were able to land this job. I really am. Everyone deserves a shot at a job, and you will have the opportunity to prove yourself.

    But a part of me is offended by this. Maybe I'm the only one. But gosh darn it, I spent a lot of time training to become the best teacher I could be. I spent a lot of time in classrooms observing, taking notes, learning, growing, failing, getting better, and working with kids. I worked very hard to get the job that I have, and I know a lot of very well trained and eager teachers who haven't been as lucky as I to get that job.

    I'm not mad at you, scared, but the actions of this district really irritate me. Maybe they couldn't get any teachers. Maybe it's a rural district that is hard to get people to move to. Well...maybe they should have tried a little harder.

    Let's not forget, this isn't just a job. I'm a parent. Forgive me, I know this sounds harsh, but if I was a parent there, and sending my child to a classroom with a teacher who has absolutely NO experience whatsoever? Wow. And the thought that my child's teacher is starting a thread titled "I don't know what I'm doing!"??? Ahem. I certainly hope (and I don't think this would happen in another profession) the professionals I interact with on a daily basis...my doctors...my dentist...a lawyer should I need one...an ambulance driver...aren't wandering the internet admitting they are grossly underqualified for the job.

    I'm interested in the space program. I went to Space Camp for a week. But I don't foresee NASA calling me up for a shuttle mission anytime soon just cause they can't find any other astronauts.

    I know, I know, I sound like a total b!tch. I am really, truly, honestly, not trying to bash you OP. I, along with many many other teachers here, will be glad to help you, if not for you but for the kids involved. I just get my panties in a bunch when I hear of stories about my PROFESSION becoming more...unprofessional.

    :soapbox:
     
  13. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I highly recommend the book The Organized Teacher by Steve Stringer et al. It breaks down everything you need in terms of supplies, thinking out classroom procedures, room arrangement, etc. There's also a lot of reproducible pages that are really helpful.

    Good luck, and remember to BREATHE!
     
  14. miss_ali1984

    miss_ali1984 Companion

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    1) How do you start from scratch not knowing anything about teaching and lesson plans? Do the schools provide a format with what you need to teach or do teachers have free reign over what they teach and when as long as it coincides with the TEKS?

    It's going to depend on your district somewhat. I can't believe that your district would not have some kind of new teacher camp. That's the first thing. Also, find a more experienced teacher to ask questions. Again, my district is providing me a mentor for my first year.
    Most districts also have an online curriculum providing the TEKS and objectives that must be taught each 6 weeks along with TAKS objectives, since you are in a TAKS grade. Do a Google search for 3rd grade lesson plans to see a few examples. That's what a lot of us did during our internships.
    -Ali
     
  15. tb71

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I 2nd First days of school by wong and would also suggest tools for teaching by fred jones. Last year was my first year...I asked tons of questions, don't act like you know something if you don't, my team was very supportive and I wouldn't have made it without them. Use all your resources...books, other teachers, web sites etc.
    Good luck and have a great first year.
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2010


    THANK YOU-that's exactly what I was thinking! Why did I spend 5 years and $40,000 on something that someone can learn in 2 weeks?!! My uncle lives in Milwaukee and he keeps getting calls for a "fast track" program because they need teachers so badly. I understand the shortage, but I feel a little irritated by these programs, because I worked by butt off for my degree and they make it seem like something so easy that anyone can do.

    Sorry for "hi-jacking" your thread. I'm not angry at the OP-I think it's great that you are switching professions to teach if it's a goal of yours. If it makes you feel any better, I think many people fresh out of college feel the same way as you. I felt like I knew what I was doing, but I was still terrified when I got my first job.

    I would recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/First-Weeks-S...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280236683&sr=8-1 . It's an easy read and it talks a lot about building classroom community. They also have daily schedules for the first 6 weeks of school with lesson plans. They might not be exactly what you want, but they are a great guideline for a new teacher.

    Also, do you have contact information for the other 3rd grade teachers? I would contact them and ask a few questions (or email) about the standards, benchmarks, and curriculum. They're going to be your biggest help this year when you have questions.

    If you have any other questions, just ask us! ;)
     
  17. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    The only advice I can give you right now is to never pretend you know something you don't know. I have been teaching for 19 years and I still ask questions all the time. It is important to model what being a leraner is all about when you're a teacher. As a teacher I never want a student to pretend they know something they don't know.

    I would suggest asking your administrator if there is someone who would make a good mentor for you (or else getting to know the other teachers and figuring out who is a good mentor).

    On the flip side, it will be great for the school to have someone with a social work background on staff. Don't forget that even if you're still learning about teaching, you have other talents to bring to the table.

    And for me personally, I found that actually teaching was the best way to learn how to do it. I found very little value in getting my degree other than the teaching experience. Of course I was also very young and just wanted to get through so didn't make it the learning experience it could have been.
     
  18. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Since people are recommending books for you I would suggest "Teach Like a Champion" by Doug Lemov. I think it's really good resource for just starting out-step by step ideas for classroom management and engaging students.

    The debate about TFA and ACP interns comes up here every once in awhile. Be ready to field questions from parents like those of the other posters-but really everyone starts somewhere. You are seeking out help which I think is an awesome 1st step. I've been officially teaching for over 10 years and I could have the same title for a thread right now. Take advantage of the opportunity-for what it's worth my :2cents:, if you are a passionate teacher and will make a difference with kids-who cares how you started out.
     
  19. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Re: what kcjo13 said, I completely understand how she feels. I feel the same way too...working my a$$ off while many others get lucky.

    On the other hand, we ALL know that life isn't fair period...not just w/ jobs, but w/ anything & everything. It's unfair that some people are born in wealthy families & get everything they want w/o lifting a finger while others work their fingers to the bone working 3 jobs just to barely scrape by. That's unfair too.

    Or, trying to get a job for a long time, only to find out the job's been filled because the person has an uncle's sister's brother on the inside who got him in.

    Regarding the OP's situation, all I can say is things happen for a reason. The OP was given this chance, now if she flops (not that I'm hoping she does), but if so, the disttrict will just let her go & replace her, that's all. If she can actually handle it, it must have been a wonderful blessing from God that she's been granted this opportunity. :) Actually, the OP should be able to bring a different insight & knowledge to the table due to her backgound & experiences, so in actuality, the students who end up in her class may be very blessed to have a teacher like her.
     
  20. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    Jul 27, 2010

    You will probably be assigned a mentor at the beginning of the year. Do yourself a favor and copy their procedures. Copy their discipline, homework, classwork, grading style,---anything you can. This will help with some of the leg work so you won't have to start from scratch.

    Whatever you do......... be consistant with your kids. Follow the same routine every day if you can. Keep your consequences for behavior the same.

    Also...... I know tons of books have already been suggested but the best book for classroom management I can suggest is Fred Jones-- Tools for Teaching. Buy it, read it, follow it. It works!
     
  21. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Phone your principal and ask if they could provide you with a name of a couple of teachers that you will be working with.
     
  22. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    She probably does have a training - she just wants to learn a lot before the training.

    If you were on my team, we would take you under our wings. We would want you to ask as many questions as you needed. We would give you copies of our lesson plans (everyone does them differently on our team) and you would get a variety of formats and ideas to create your own. You would also be looking at them to make sure you're on the right track. Our team meets once a week and we would check in with you to see how things are going and to prepare you for the upcoming week. We would bounce ideas off each other. We would invite you into our rooms to see our various ways of organizing things. We would be telling you what resources to look through to get a better idea of our district's practices. But that's just if you were on my team.
     
  23. novalyne

    novalyne Rookie

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    If you are at the right type of school, you will have two important resources - a mentor teacher and a good team. You need to take advantage of both of them. A lot of times, your team teachers are totally willing to help you out, BUT - they aren't thinking of you constantly, so sometimes they forget to check on you. If you are not going to them, they might assume you're doing fine. You will have to be the one to take charge of getting help.

    1. Ask questions - as many as you can think of. Write them down if you need to so that you can email them or ask your mentor/teammates.

    2. At this point, copy as much as you can from other teachers. Your first year is the time to be learning classroom management, pacing, content, etc. Don't try to be a superhero and plan all of your lessons from scratch. If anyone on your team is willing to share their plans, take them and use them. Next year will be the time when you can start on the fabulous lesson plans.

    3. Take it one day at at time, but have a long-term view. It would be a good idea to take a look at curriculum and the scope/sequence for the year. That way you'll know what things need to be covered. But concentrate on getting the next week set up. It's easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day stuff that you can end up at semester break with too much content that hasn't been covered. But you also won't be able to plan too far ahead - if you start trying to have the whole year planned out in detail, you'll go crazy!

    4. Commit to the time it's going to take. My first year is a huge blur for me. I worked evenings and weekends and I never felt on top of things. That's just the way it goes. It WILL get easier.

    5. Relax and take a deep breath! You are new, but as long as you care and want to learn, you will be fine. I would much, much rather have my children learning from a brand new teacher who was passionate and trying, than from an old pro teacher who was just putting in time.
     
  24. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Well you are not alone. I feel very similar. I am worried for the OP and the kids. First of all, I am alternatively certified, but I DID do student teaching. I felt the student teaching was critical for my success as a teacher. Can't afford to go without a job? I was a single mother of 5 little ones at the time. I made it through and got a position a few months later.

    Unfortunately I don't think we do our kids any good by putting someone with zero experience in a classroom. But it is what it is. I wish the OP the best of luck and if you have passion for this career you will make it to the top. I am a fabulous teacher, but spent LOTS of time to get there. I went on and got my Masters in Education.

    I beg you... please make sure you desire to teach - not just have a job. This is NOT a job. You will go home EXHAUSTED if you do it right.

    If you truly want to teach you can do this because you will read everything you can get your hands on, ask questions left and right, learn from the best teachers, and continue your education into our field.
    But if you think the schools will hand you everything you need to do your "job", you are mistaken. Sure a good mentor will help tons, but they won't be able to teach your class for you.

    I truly hope you are like me and many other alternatively certified teachers - realize after college or after another career that what you truly want to do is teach young kiddos. It can be done and you can become one of the best. However, if its a job to pass the time until something better comes along or if you think its easy (it sounds like you realize it will be hard) or if you just want holidays and summers off - you will regret the decision.

    I'm just being real. Some people will only congratulate you and neglect to tell you the reality, but I feel for you, the kids, and the profession you need to hear the truth. :hugs:
     
  25. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Really the original poster is a social worker. I would tend to think she has some experience with children. I've been teaching for 18 years and have a load of experience under my belt and there are still days that I could write her words. I find it odd that everyone is thinking that she literally has no experience or training at all. Certainaly some of what you learn to become a social worker would carry over to teaaching.
     
  26. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I agree with this. Copy someone who is good and over time you can change things around to be more --YOU.
     
  27. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Oh - and prepare to live at the school this first year. I worked many 12-hour days. Still never got done and always felt like my main goal was just to survive. It's like you are drowning and trying to just keep your head above water.
     
  28. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    From the OP:

    "I have NO experience as a teacher, not even student teaching."

    "I kindof want to put on that I know more than I really do."
     
  29. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    From my post: Certainaly some of what you learn to become a social worker would carry over to teaching.

    I have seen many who have gone through school and done student teaching who should not be teaching. Having a degree doesn't make one qualified to teach.
     
  30. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    It would depend what kind of social worker she/he was. You are assuming CPS? There are also social workers that work only with adults. We do not know.

    Even if it were with kids doesn't equate to what she/he needs to do in the classroom - totally different situation, circumstances, etc.

    Now I'm not saying her prior experience can't relate to what she needs as a teacher, but we are taking this from what the OP did say.......no idea what to do. That is scary for both the OP and her students. As a parent, this would chill me to the bone.

    I wish the OP the best - as long as this is something she is dedicated to,........ because she/he will have to be dedicate for this to be good.
     
  31. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    She was the kind of social worker that worked for the district. I am assuming that means she works for the school district.

    I don't really want to get in to all the "what ifs" as it really doesn't matter. The bottom line for me is that I just do not buy in to the idea that a degree makes one a teacher.
     
  32. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    still say even if she worked for a district it is not the same. She is obviously not a certified teacher. Regardless I think its interesting that OP posted this 2 days ago and has NOT even signed back in since......Hmmm......
     
  33. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Hopefully she found some people somewhere who could help her rather than debate if she should be teaching or not. I would be more concerned if she replied to any of this in the middle of trying to get ready to teach.
     
  34. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Well I certainly was not "debating if she should be teaching or not".

    In fact I said alt cert teachers (like me) can be just as great as traditionally educated teachers. However it has to be a love. I think sometimes advice/help should get the person really thinking about what he/she wants. I think that's doing a person a favor by not simply saying "it will all be great and you can do it". Sometimes we need a realistic view of what we are getting ourselves into. Then if she truly wants to be a teacher that bad - she will overcome and be great. That is what we want. However, many people think the job that teachers do is easy 8-3 work with summers off. That is not a realistic view. What is sad is when people have this view and proceed into teaching. I am sure we all see these people often. That is sad for the kids.

    Of course we know none of this because OP has never returned to even see the suggestions on the thread.

    She even said "THEY convinced me to go through alt cert". I am sorry but that doesn't sound like she is the one who wanted to become a teacher.
     
  35. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    As far as I'm concerned, there is no debate. Ultimately, the students going into the OP's classroom deserve someone who knows how to be a teacher. And wants to be. There, I said it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with alt certification. That's great. Those people might even have an even stronger desire to be a teacher, since most of the alt cert people have left another career to become one. But as skittleroo pointed out, "THEY convinced me"?

    My big beef here is not even with the OP. She deserves a chance to prove herself, I guess. The fact is, the district made a poor decision for its kids. Plus, enough of the general public views teaching as glorified babysitting. Situations such as this don't help that image. Anyone can do it, it's so easy, just take this test. I really don't appreciate my profession treated like a position that any warm body can fill.

    And as for the OP being offended, sorry. She came here and chose to word the post in a way that opened up a big can of worms. It could have been stated a lot differently if she really wanted help.
     
  36. novalyne

    novalyne Rookie

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    If I were the OP, I'm not sure I would come back to this thread, either. She came to this board to try to get help, and it's turned into a debate about alternative certification. Perhaps it would have been better to start a new thread if you wanted to discuss the pros and cons of AC, rather than hijacking her thread with negative attitude.

    She said she already worked in a school district. She said she was interested in teaching. When she said "They convinced me", I read that to mean that they talked her into doing the fast track alternative route, not that they talked her into teaching as a career.

    If the district wants to hire her, either they see qualities in her that they like, or they are desperate to find someone to fit into the classroom. Whichever the case, I applaud her for being worried and realizing that she has a lot of work ahead of her, and taking the initiative to seek out help on a message board.
     
  37. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I would have stopped reading it after the first page if was the OP. Instead of giving advice on what she can do to prepare; people are telling her she shouldn't be a teacher. If you have any specific questions Scared, please feel free to pm me-even once the school year starts and things come up (hey, us Texans need to stick together, right?):).

    The alternative in many of these cases where there are truly shortages is that classes have over 30 kids in each class. Is it better to have an atmosphere with someone excited to be a great teacher who doesn't have much experience or huge classes of kids that make it more difficult and stressful for each of them to learn?

    Most programs do training over the summer, she passed the tests so she must have some knowledge of pedogogy. They also have mentors who come in and observe, admins have to observe-much more support than most new teachers get.
     
  38. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2010

    Scared- I am hoping that you have found the help you needed. If you have more questions or need anything, feel free to ask.

    For other teachers on this board, I am surprised! Would you really want your students to act this way. Scared asked for help and instead you gave negative thoughts and more things for this poster to worry about. Shouldn't we be encouraging this poster rather than pass immediate judgement. Especially when the poster didn't ask to be judge. The poster asked for HELP!
     
  39. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I completely agree with your post! I hate it when someone reaches out for help and it turns into a debate over“whose offended” or “what makes you qualified”. :|
     
  40. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I agree with you too! Give me a break…Many of you should be ashamed. Sorry, but this is how I feel.:2cents:
     
  41. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I can see both sides. I "tuned in to" this post because of the dire-sounding thread title and my first thought was, "Wow. That person has major balls. Let's check them out." :lol: I mean seriously - I'll be a 3rd year teacher, and I'm still frazzled about everything. So that was going to be my contribution to the OP's concern. But yeah, I'd be surprised if they poste again, so :p whatevs. She'll be fine and her students (eventually) will be fine.
     

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