New Teacher,Please Help!

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by Jenniferw1984, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Jenniferw1984

    Jenniferw1984 Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2008

    Hello Everyone! I just recently got hired as a 5th grade teacher in Southern California. I am still in process of finishin up the credential program but will be done in a few weeks. I am very nervous because this will be my first teaching job and I have so many questions. Please help me with any information if you can!


    First, my contract is temporary. With how hard it is to get teaching jobs in my area, I dont mind, but I dont quite understand what it means. For example, do I still get to be a part of the BTSA program for beginning teachers? Also, I know that as a temporary my year wont count me toward tenure...but I still dont quite understand that. Also, will I still have the opportunity to clear my credential as a temporary?

    Also, now that I got over the initial excitement of being hired...Im starting to become very nervous. For example, what am I going to do the first day of school! What should I address! How am I going to plan for the year! What in the world am I going to cover on back to school night!!!!

    I am realy starting to worry. Please, If anyone has any advice Iwould really appreciate it. You're all I've got!

    Thanks a million!

    Jennifer
     
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  3. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Apr 26, 2008

    I have no advice, but I'm in an (almost) similar boat. Yesterday I was offered a 5th grade position, but I have a few days to decide if I'll accept it. I was hoping for a primary level class. I don't know much at all about what fifth grade is like. I'm interested to hear from other teachers on this.
     
  4. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2008

    Congrats on the new job! I don't exactly know what it means when a contract is temporary, so I can't help you with that. However, I can give you some tips on your other questions.

    As far as the first day of school goes, you want to make sure that you review your expectations (rules, consequences, rewards, procedures, etc.) and that the students understand and follow them. You MUST be consistent with your expectations, otherwise everything will fall apart. You also want to incorporate some get to know you/community building activities. I usually begin teaching math and reading the first day of school because I want my students to know that when they're at school, they are there to work and that expectation is ingrained on the very first day of school.

    Check with your grade level as far as how to plan out your year because they may already a year long plan laid out or they have a good idea as to what they teach and when. That will ease some of the burden of your first year of teaching.

    My back-to-school night occurs the Thursday before school begins so I spend that night going over the expectations of my classroom. I also briefly go over the curriculum and what students will be learning. I answer any questions parents may have and that's about it.
     
  5. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Apr 26, 2008

    Temporary may mean they are covering themselves in case they have to let you go. My first job was "temporary" based on enrollment. School hired two extra teachers due to projected fall enrollment. I taught for three weeks but numbers did not fill my class so was let go. Other thing with temporary is benefits - look into this to see if you are getting full coverage.

    I was going to suggest not to worry. No matter what, you will anyway so don't fight it. If you WEREN'T nervous then I would worry.

    I am not going to tell you what to do only what to consider to do:

    1) I wouldn't plan much farther than perhaps the third day. I had all summer to plan and filled my plan book with all sorts of units, lessons, dog & pony shows, field trips etc, etc. After first day I had to hustle to the store to buy more erasers as everything I planned didn't fit the group I was actually working with.

    2) Priority for day one and until the kids get it right is Structure. Structure has to do with teaching rules and routines to furniture arrangement. Sit down and brainstorm all the rules and routines you will need to teach the first few weeks of school. Don't leave anything out - from where to put back packs, to passing/collecting papers, drinks-restroom, parent notes, hand signals, line-up, free time, pencils, standard of excellence etc. I usually come up with about 20. From this list prioritize the rules and routines the students will need to know first when they enter the room to ones which can wait. List your R&Rs on the board and save them. These, rules and routines, become THE LESSONS for the first weeks of school. All content lessons take a back seat to R&Rs. You will still teach content but after R&Rs. If you want to have a year where majority of time is teaching content while increasing time on task and make discipline disappear then teach - do not announce - your rules and routines.

    2) Readiness-Diagnosis-Prescription - Reason my plans bombed was because I didn't know, for sure, where my class was in terms of what they had learned. Sure, they were fifth grade and I checked the district manual regarding content covered in grade four yet I made a big boo-boo assuming their actual level. So hustle up some diagnostic-readiness tests (or quizzes - sometimes referred as inventories) in math, comprehension, spelling, penmanship, writing mechanics, geography, science etc. Intersperse these with R&Rs and some fun games (learning related, of course) to get a handle where the kids are and base to start planning. Again, from diagnostics I listed skills in order of importance (critical skills) kids needed to know (readiness) in order to help eliminate frustration or boredom due to delivering a lesson they knew nothing about from prior knowledge or knew too much about.

    If you want to consider a Back-to-School-Night which is a little different than traditional give me a heads up via email (I think you can email from this site -- find Loomistrout.
     
  6. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Apr 26, 2008

    Welcome and congratulations! Here you will find many people willing to help you out. You are smart (and lucky) to be getting an early jump on this; I was hired in mid-July to report in early August. I had no idea what I was doing and hadn't thought as far ahead as you have. I just kind of expected them to show up, be excited, and behave. After the first 7 or 8 weeks things started going downhill fast.

    What Loomistrout advised is a good start. Begin by brainstorming every possible routine you need to plan and teach-everything from pencil sharpeners to bathroom breaks to lining up to packing up. Then picture how you want your day to look/sound/feel. What makes things work? What makes the room run smoothly? What would drive you up the wall? You won't be able to imagine every possible event, but you can get a good head start. Also, keep a list of questions you want answered. You can come here to A to Z and get answers and advice (more than you might want even) or talk with others in the profession. If you know anyone at the the school where you'll be working, maybe you could eschange phone numbers and/or plan on gettin together over the summer.

    I recommend you read a couple different books over the summer-Teaching With Love & Logic and Teaching Outside the Box. I have read both of these and love them. Others on this forum like Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire and the books by harry Wong. They are on my To Read pile now. Hope this helps. If you need anything, please ask.
     
  7. Jenniferw1984

    Jenniferw1984 Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2008

    Thank you all so much!

    I just want to express how much I appreciate everyone who responds and helps each other out through this forum. I feel so fortunate to have found this site. Everyone has given such great advice, addressing exactly what I was hoping would be addressed. Thank you all so much.

    Jennifer:rolleyes:
     
  8. teacherfan

    teacherfan Cohort

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    Apr 30, 2008

    I think if your contract is a year long one you should be able to begin BTSA. Last year I was a long term and BTSA told me I could only particpate if my assignment was more than 75% of the year.
     
  9. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    May 9, 2008

    Hey Jennifer! I taught fifth grade for two years and it is AWESOME. You're really lucky to have landed that job.

    If you're concerned about organization and ideas to get your room rolling, check www.realclassroomideas.com. Tons of stuff for you, including back to school night stuff (http://realclassroomideas.com/40.html).
     
  10. Amers

    Amers Cohort

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    May 22, 2008

    I would suggest calling the school and asking if you can get copies of the text books to look through over the summer. I think someone else already mentioned this, but also ask for a copy of the fifth grade curriculum. You can look at your state's education website to see if they have the state's grade level expectations posted. That would give you some idea of what you'll be teaching next year.

    As for the first couple days of school, definitely focus on procedures/rules of the classroom. Build a caring classroom community by having some "get to know you" activities. Include yourself in the activities. The kids want to know about you too!

    When I made my schedule for my first couple days this year (my first year), I wrote out the time schedule for my grade level, then I plugged in the activities I wanted to accomplish. I would alternate between community building activities and begining of the year paperwork/procedures.

    I hope this helps!! Congratulations on your new job!
     
  11. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    May 22, 2008

    I agree with everything that has been said so far. I just wanted to add not only go over procedures but model them. We take for granted that a 5th grader knows how to do things like line up properly. I model every procedure/routine I give them. We practice doing everything I expect, from lining up to coming in and unpacking. Model EVERYTHING. Use this time to familiarize yourself with the curriculm. You will love teaching 5th grade. I do!!!!!!!
     
  12. peachieteachie

    peachieteachie Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2008

    Congratulations! Last year I was a new hire for a 5th grade teaching boat and I was the same as you - very nervous. This site is WONDERFUL for great ideas! I used ALL summer long before the school year began and I had lots of great tools to use in my classroom. You'll love 5th grade :)
     

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