What surprised you most your first year of teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Arky, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    Dec 29, 2008

    First of all I am really enjoying the organization ideas. My first year I was amazed at how they threw my in the classroom and walked off. I did not have a good student teaching experience so I did not learn as much as I should have. I was put in a room with a teacher they had tried to fire. I was so shocked over how the principal walked in my room one day and told me to fill out this paper and get it back to her as soon as possible. I was so surprised that she didn't seem to be concerned that I was in the middle of a lesson with 2nd graders. She was a good principal too. That was the beginning of surprises and how little teaching seemed to matter compared to paperwork.
     
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  3. Writer's Block

    Writer's Block Companion

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    Dec 29, 2008

    I think the biggest surprise for me was how administrative teaching was. I didn't have a great student teaching experience either--I taught and graded, that's about it.

    When I got my first classroom, I felt like a paper pusher so much of the time. I don't remember seeing that much administrative stuff going on when I student taught, so that was a huge surpirse for me.
     
  4. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I think what surprised me was all the freedom I had to make all kinds of decisions from how to teach my curriculum, to what order to teach it in, to planning field trips, etc. It took me a while to realize that I didn't have to ask permission for so many things and that they trusted me to be the judge. I found it awkward because I never knew what I needed to run by someone and what I could just go ahead and do on my own...now I'm much more comfortable with things though.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2008

    There is paperwork with teaching but I don't agree that "how little teaching seemed to matter compared to paperwork." It's a matter of prioritizing...yes, paperwork needs to be done- grading, IEPs, student records, etc...but teaching/the kids have to be your priority. Paperwork can be overwhelming if you don't handle it in a quick and efficient manner- it piles up and then it seems that it is all that you do. Find ways to minimize the un-necessary paperwork- have kids partner check or self-check some of their work. Create a file in your word processing documents folder of child study team write ups, IEP input, etc so you can go back in and 'lift' phrases and change as needed to fit new situations...handle what you can immediately- what can't be done immediately should still be handled in a timely manner so you can get back to what really counts!!
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 29, 2008

    My first year teaching secondary was quite a culture shock. I was handed some books and shown the direction of my classroom. Now, I had teaching experience, so I guess they thought that I didn't need things like a mentor, or even an informal orientation to the public schools, but college is NOTHING like secondary. I was on my own to figure out things like IEP's and the rest of the paperwork mountain I had to contend with. I was shocked at the level of detail required in lesson plans. I'd never seen a "lesson plan" before. At the college level, all that means is knowing approximately what you're going to teach and when, with a little thought on how you're going to present it, but ifyou have anything more than a legal pad with an outline, you're considered uber-organized.
     
  7. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    I'm a first year teacher and EVERYTHING surprises me. My student teaching was rotten--I graded and cleaned and handled the 3 students the teacher didn't like.
    I never realized the number of meetings. Holy COW!
    I never realized the amount of paperwork.
    I never knew I could be so tired!
    I never knew I would dream about these kids and worry about them so much.
    I never knew I would cry over lesson plans and cry over teaching sound. :)
    I didn't know I would absolutely love it as much as I do.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    ...and that is what makes it all worth it, doesn't it...? The ability to truly reach kids, to make connections, to facilitate meaningful ownership of learning, to touch lives... paperwork, schmaperwork...who cares...the rewards outbalance the challenges...:love::angel:
     
  9. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Dec 29, 2008

    Well said! :hugs:
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2008

    Two things:
    How much fun my students can be (they are hilarious).
    How exhausted I was at the end of a week.
     
  11. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Dec 29, 2008

    Several things suprised me my first year teaching:

    1) How fun and caring my students can be.
    2) How crazy some parents are.
    3) How some admin decisions are so incredibly political at the school level. ( I had 5 different principals in my first year teaching)
     
  12. pxydst07

    pxydst07 Comrade

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    I had a wonderful student teaching experience, so I think I was most surprised by how unorganized and last minute everything is at my school. I was also surprised at the lack of mentoring. There is a supposed program, but I didn't receive any help at all. I'm still finding out things this year that I should have known last year. Oh and a big shocker is how much money is spent out of your own pocket for your classroom!
     
  13. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Dec 31, 2008

    I think I was surprised at how hard of a time I had and how long it takes to hone teaching skills. All of my teachers made teaching look easy and enjoyable. I thought I would leave college kind of prepared. I was wrong.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I was surprised at how petty my co-workers could be. I think they felt threatened by a newbie coming in with knowledge of technology and willing to teach without using worksheets all day, I might make them look bad - so they were very unsupportive. I didn't even know how difficult the standardized testing was going to be. They had been doing practice tests for months, my poor kids had not even taught to bubble (I didn't know that was the format).

    I was also surprised at how easy it was. You hear horror stories and I had some serious behavior issues - but I handled it - anything that came up I dealt with. It told me I was in the right profession.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The best surprise I've had is how much my fellow teachers want me to succeed. They're helping me plan everything for my Praxis III exam (a month from Monday :eek: ) and are absolutely wonderful about supporting me in every crazy idea I have. I wasn't expecting anything this supportive!
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    This IS my first year, and the thing that has surprised me so far is the TOTAL LACK of administrative support when it comes to disciplinary issues. I have some pretty challenging students when it comes to behavior in the classroom (reg. ed, 1st grade), and the only thing I have been told (and yes, I have asked for help) is that it is MY classroom management problem. If that is so, then why do other teachers have the same problems with these students, and why do I not have these problems with the other 95% of my students?
     
  17. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    This is my second year. I have 'lived' teaching school my entire life. My mother and aunt taught for over 30 years. I knew about the politics and the 'cliques' that could occur among faculty and administration. Because I am alt. cert. I didn't have the classes that a person would take the traditional way-I've learned alot by 'on the job' training. In the back of my mind, I knew that teaching was a learning process-but I never realized that the learning process can take a couple of years to 'get'-not months. I hear alot of 'that comes with experience' when I am curious about areas such as solid classroom management, keeping students attention. I ask my mom questions all the time pulling from her experience. It was amazing when I walked into my room, looked around and realized it was MINE, I can conduct it how I want. What also gets me is how...isolated..teaching can be. Everyone is so busy with their own students and lessons-I have worked in so many places where the boss has been close by or working along side me. But in teaching-it doesn't work that way. It is a concept that took me a solid year to get used too.
     
  18. randomdrama

    randomdrama New Member

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    Jan 1, 2009

    my first year was in the bush...

    My first year of teaching I took a job in a small country town 14 hours drive from where I had been living, I replaced another first year teacher who had taken stress leave six weeks in to the year and was only staying on until he was replaced. It was a massive life change for me and a very steep learing curve, I discovered the following surprising things:

    *Young teachers living in the country drink- a lot
    *It is easy to earn respect if you stick to your discipline plan, ask for advice if you need it and do everything you can to help your students succeed
    *Country kids and city kids really are very different, they have different priorities which can make it very difficult for country kids (and their parents) to see education as important
    *There is a massive difference in the way teachers teach, I was horrified by the complete lack of discipline I witnessed from some teachers
    *Arrogance abounds in many administration teams and if you play humble you can generally get what you want
    *Teaching takes a lot of work and preparation, there were many late nights spent in preparation of classes
    *If you embark on an extra-curricular project, despite what people may offer, be prepared to see it through on your own

    I know I may sound cynical but I honestly look back on my first couple of years as some of the best and most worthwhile teaching experiences I have had. Being thrown in the deep end was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I highly recommend teaching in the country to anyone considering it :thumb:
     
  19. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    Jan 1, 2009

    There have been three things that have really surprised me in the beginning of my career. 1. My college did not prepare me at all for the paperwork at the END of the school year. Filling out fifty million permanent records and the other million for the students that moved and "housekeeping paperwork" for things around the school. 2. Some parents can say the meanest things to you and their child can do no wrong. It amazes me everyday how much disrespect some parents show for teachers and education. Do we wonder why their children act the way they do? 3. Thanks to a rigorous master's program, teaching is fairly easy! Many of the veterans come to observe me and ask me about things quite often. It makes me feel good (and thank the wonderful professor that put me through so many all-nighters!)
     
  20. DaTeach

    DaTeach Comrade

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    I was shocked by the behavior of the students. My first year one of my 4th grade boys put his hand on a girl's behind, and it wasn't accidental! I was also shocked at the fighting that went on. Kids today will fight over the least little things!
     
  21. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jan 1, 2009

    I had a great student teaching experience, with a friendly team and wonderfully supportive parents. I was shocked how, in my first job, I wasn't automatically accepted by the school community - especially the staff.

    One of my most hurtful memories - 15 years later! - is how, on my very first morning in the building, the principal had warned me that we'd have a faculty meeting at 8:30 that would last most of the day. I went in very early (6:30) and started working in my room. At 8:15-ish, I knocked on the classroom door next door to mine to ask where faculty meetings are normally held....and that teacher just laughed at me. Never introduced herself, never welcomed me, never even answered my question. Just laughed and replied (in a condescending tone), "well, I'm sure it'll be where they always are." And then she closed her door.

    That taught me to go out of my way to welcome new staff members to the building, especially those first year teachers who are a little lost.
    Kim
     

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