Why NOT say you're a new teacher?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by raneydae, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Aug 24, 2008

    This will be my first year teaching in a classroom and I've heard numerous times on here that new teachers shouldn't admit that they are new. I understand that students/parents may see this as a weakness, but does it always have to be the case??

    Yes, this is my first time with my own classroom, but I still feel completely capable and confident that I will have authority of my classes. I am the oldest in a family of 6 kids (my youngest sister is a year younger than the kids I'll be teaching). I've been a camp counselor for 7 summers. I've taught/worked in an elementary school enrichment program for a year. I've done lots of tutoring, even spent a semester as a homeschool teacher for an 8th grader. This past year, I've worked on sets of commercials and film as the on-set teacher/tutor and child actor advocate. All of this along with my student teaching experience.

    So I'm not new to working with kids. I know how they test things and I know how to be firm with them. I don't believe they will be have any kind of advantage over me because I am new. They will be freshman and new to the school as well. Is it still inadvisable for me to mention that this is my first year teaching? Why?
     
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  3. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2008

    Students DO try to take advantage of anything that they can find that they see as a "weakness". Any time that there would be a disagreement over a policy or you "punishing" them for breaking rules, they would pull out "Well, you are new, what do you know?"

    I have had parents insinuate that I didn't know enough to handle situations because I was so young, which really meant because it was early in my career. I didn't tell anyone it was my first year teaching, but I still encountered some of the prejudice about it... from trouble-making students and parents.

    Just from that stand point, I would highly recommend NOT telling them.
     
  4. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I think it's that sometimes parents don't think first year teachers will be able to do as much for their children as someone who has been teaching for a while. I'm not saying I think that is true. Many times first year teachers might be better than teachers who have been in the district forever. But a parent hearing that there is a first year teacher thinks of someone who has not had their own classroom and could possibly be "testing things out" with their first class.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I completely agree with everything said here.
     
  6. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Aug 25, 2008

    I am absolutely not trying to argue/disagree with anyone, especially since I am the new teacher and don't have the same experience y'all do. However, I guess I find it difficult to see why the truth that I'm a new teacher is such a bad thing to acknowledge.

    I'm not planning to brag about it, and when it briefly comes up in introduction, I also plan to mention all my other education experience. I have no qualms about it being known that I am new, but I also want to trust other, more experienced teachers' advice, so it does make me wonder. I'm a very honest person, and I would feel strange trying to hide or gloss over this fact.

    In anything I've ever worked at, the enrichment program, homeschooling, tutoring, being a counselor, etc. I have NEVER had a student/parent tell me that because I am new/young, I must not know what I am doing. During the past year working on set, I worked very closely with every child's parent, and I learned quickly how to get them on my side and how to make them realize that I was there for their child. Oh, and dealing with parents may be difficult and I expect this, but there is no way it can compare with dealing with directors or producers or other very-stressed crew members on a shoot. Trust me, I grew very thick skin very quickly as a studio teacher! :)

    Yes, I am young and look young, but I carry myself as though I am much older and consider myself an equal when dealing with anyone (this definitely came from working on sets!).

    I am not saying that you guys might not be correct, and that I shouldn't mention being a new teacher, but that I have a hard time wrapping my head around this.

    Are there any teachers that did let it be known when they were new? Did parents/students take advantage of this, or were there any teachers who found that it was not an issue?
     
  7. msmath

    msmath Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2008

    I only let them know at the end that they were my first class. I think they knew it anyway hahah. They smell fresh blood. LOL
    I wouldn't advise it. I just don't think it's beneficial, but again as the year goes on or at the end if you'd like to, I think that's fine.
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Aug 25, 2008

    raney,

    You may not choose to listen to the advice, but it is still good advice. Don't tell the students it is your first year. You can argue why it shouldn't matter 'til the cows come in -- it still does cause more problems than you can imagine.

    You seem pretty set in your views, so I'm not sure why you are asking -- but if you really are seeking advice, you've been given some great advice -- don't mention that it is your first year!

    If you insist on doing what you want, by all means go ahead. But be prepared for the problems that will occur -- because they will.
     
  9. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I personally had no problems telling students and parents it was my first year teaching. I had a couple of parents who were "involved" a lot in my class, but honestly, they probably would have been anyway. For me it was just easier to say it and be done rather than fabricate experience. I did have a fair amount of subbing experience as well as working with kids in camp, tutoring, Sunday school, etc. I let them know about that, too. They knew that I was new to the classroom, but not to working with kids. I say go with what you are comfortable with. You have some good advice above, take that into consideration, and know that there may be consequences to telling. Ultimately, the choice is yours, not anyone else's. Good luck!!
     
  10. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Aug 25, 2008

    ChristyF - thank you.

    RainStorm - I really am not trying to argue, like I mentioned in my post. It is just hard for me to wrap my head around, that it all. I posted looking for reasons why people say not to and also to hear form teachers that have told and what responses they got.
     
  11. Nomad

    Nomad New Member

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    Aug 25, 2008

    Think outside the classroom for a minute. There are certainly doubts cast when someone says they are new in a profession. No profession wants to tell you they are new/first time etc.

    How would you feel if your:
    Mechanic said "this is the first time I've worked on brakes before, but i read a lot about them"
    Doctor said "I'm so excited to perform my first surgery... on you"
    Lawyer said "Yours is the first case I've ever tried"
    Plumber said "I've never done pipe work like your but I have a lot of experience in garden hoses"

    So can you see how a parent would have doubts crop up in their mind? A student could have an automatic assumption that you'll do everything wrong? (many already do)

    I choose not to mention this is my first year. I have 10 years of business experience, a BS and soon a credential and MA. I don't need to justify my experience to a student.
     
  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Good point, Nomad.

    As a parent, I think it's better if teachers avoid letting on its their first year. I don't think a teacher gains anything out of it, and potentially loses a lot.

    RaneyDae, it's up to you, but I suspect counselors and teachers in optional programs don't get analyzed in quite the same way regular classroom teachers do (though it may be that all you really need is the thick skin -- looking through the complaints about parents here on the site, most of them seem to be "such-and-such parent yelled at me" or "such-and-such wants to tell me what to do", which are basically feckless protestations more than threats).

    To go with Nomad's examples, it's as if the doctor said: "I'm excited to be performing my first surgery -- on you -- and by the way you have no choice in the matter".
     
  13. Lives4Math

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    Aug 25, 2008

    Personal choice I guess. Everyone knew it was my first year when I was a first year teacher....and every year since (this is my 4th) I've also had at least 1 parent to think it was my first year teaching. I get used to it. I'm 5 foot tall and blend in with students (except last year when I taught Kinder). Yes, I ran into problems with parents...but they were the same parents who would have had problems with me even if it were my 25th year teaching!
     
  14. Badger41

    Badger41 Rookie

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    Yeah, I agree that you can argue all you want about how much leadership experience you have until you are blue in the face...the fact still remains, this is your first year teaching. You have no experience in the classroom, and that's a fact we all had to face our first year. Some parents and students will still call into question some things you do, even if what you are doing is completely right/best practices/etc. You have to realize how shrewd many of your students will be and try to take advantage of you being new.

    The bottom line: Even if absolutely nothing happens at all resulting from you telling the class you're a new teacher, there's really no reason to tell them.
     
  15. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2008

    My son has a new teacher and I am very happy about it. Most of the parents of the children in his classroom seem fine with the idea. Sure, this new teacher does not have a "track record" but she has many other positive traits.

    New often (not always) means enthusiastic, fun, open to new things,...

    I am a 40 year old teacher with many years of experience. Sure, I hope the kids think I am still as enthusiastic as a young, new teacher but I am sure, at least at first look, they worry that I will be a bit tired, burnt out, or stuck in my ways.

    By the way, if you do not want people to know that you are new, be sure to talk to your administrators and tell them you do not plan to put the word out. We all know who is new at my son's school because the principal fills us in in the newsletter. The kids in my son's class have been busy speculating about this new teacher all summer...they can't wait 'til school starts to meet her! I know that at least one parent has a "Welcome to Teaching" gift for the teacher to add to her classroom and others are excited to help add to her library.

    Have a great first year!
     
  16. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2008

    My first year, I told the kids it was my first year in this building, and that I had worked in other places in the district (which was true, just not as a teacher). You could maybe take the same tack. Although the 9th graders won't know, the older kids will recognize you as new to the building - they may or may not assume you're new to the profession. Same goes for parents - you can tell them it's your first year at this school and you have previously worked at x and y places. Since you have some educational experience, just not in a formal setting, I don't think it's necessary to say that you are a new teacher, and it's probably a better idea not to. Students and/or parents are likely to use it against you if something goes south.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    They probably know you are a new teacher without telling them- at least that you are new to the district. Don't walk around advertising that you are a new teacher but if someone asks you if you are new you could answer truthfully, "Technically it's my first year with my own classroom but I have taught in other settings such as movie sets, tutoring, etc...I'm so excited to be here." Then smile, grab a folder and head off purposefully to a meeting or to pick up your kids or to wherever...
     
  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    :eek:

    So after posting, I thought, "Haven't I opined on this recently?". I then found the thread http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?p=750468#post750468.

    Seems I was able to come up with a potential positive for telling the parents about your experience or lack thereof. If you're bold and confident (and, of course, a good teacher), you could be doing future new teachers a service.
     
  19. LMath85

    LMath85 Companion

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    I just finished my first year of teaching. I did not tell my kids till the very end that they were my first class ever (I am transferring to a new school plus they probably already knew that).

    They asked and asked the first few weeks of school but I chose to ignore it - mainly because of the parents. I know a few teachers where parents have asked and argued that their child be removed from the teachers classroom because they do not feel they have enough experience. I have mentioned quite a few times on this board where I had trouble with one particular parent all year because she felt I was 'too young and didn't have enough experience' to be giving her child an education. She tried several times to get me in trouble with my AP and the GC.

    I had 3 classes of freshman algebra and they tried EVERY way to take advantage of me. They are very sneaky! SO although you are new to the school & so are they... don't expect it to be any different then if you were teaching 10th grade IMO. Kids will do anything to try to take advantage of a new teacher. They want to test you to see what they can get away with.

    Besides... if they are new... why bother telling them its your first year of teaching? You can just say you are new to the school as they are.
     
  20. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Aug 25, 2008

    3Sons - thanks for posting that link. I knew I had recently read a thread where posters were saying not to tell, which is what first got me thinking about the topic of this thread. I suppose I could have just done a search and continued that thread with my question instead of starting this one...oh well - hey, I'm NEW! ha ha ha ha :)

    Really, though, I am sorry to have started a redundant thread. Thanks everyone for your answers; sorry to have made anyone answer twice. :)
     
  21. efgh676

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    Aug 28, 2008

    no5

    Anther great and fast service Knock down by TPL ^^, I love you
     
  22. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I also don't think you should mention that it's your first year, especially to your students. I guess I don't understand why anything needs to be said one way or the other. If a parent asks, don't lie to them, but otherwise I don't think it's information that you need to offer up on your own.


    As for personal experience, I didn't tell my students during my first year. A friend of mine did and she didn't notice any negative effects of it.

    I just think you're rolling the dice a little by telling. It might turn out fine....but you're also opening the door to a whole lot of hassle, too.
     
  23. DreamToTeach

    DreamToTeach Companion

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    I just had dinner tonight with a group of friends. One of the mothers was furious and going on and on about her sons teacher being a first year teacher. And the teacher is the niece of another one of our friends at dinner. The aunt kept trying to reassure the mother that her niece was very smart, dedicated, passionate about teaching, etc. I don't know what will end up happening. Maybe after the mother meets her she'll be okay with it. But, it scared me for when I become a first year teacher (soon, soon, soon). I don't think I'll tell people. We're a small community, they'll probably find out anyway.
     
  24. queenie

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    While it MAY put you at a slight disadvantage, I still think honesty is the best policy. This is my second year teaching and I was totally honest and up front with parents about last year being my first year. They were fine with it as far as I could tell and once the kids see you're serious about making the classroom a safe learning environment (ie, enforcing rules and procedures), they're fine, too. I had a great year last year!!
     
  25. pontiac8411

    pontiac8411 Rookie

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    I did not tell my kids i was new because i was afraid they would think of me as a push-over who does not know the rules. I just counted my practicum and student teaching experience into my overall teaching experience when they asked me.
     
  26. Yume

    Yume New Member

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    For me I totally agree that the teacher should never tell the students(they already know) and if they asked just tell them it your first time in this school (it is!)
     
  27. Lakenjade

    Lakenjade Rookie

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    What is funny to me is that my son is a GT student at his school, is easily bored, and has been a behavior problem for his past two teachers! This year he has a new teacher, I mean brand new! He was actually giving me advice on the Texes exam because he took it last January!

    Bottom line is he is the only teacher I have seen my son behave for! My son comes home excited about what they are learning on a daily basis! I love that this teacher is fresh out of school with new ideas!

    I also as a parent and future teacher appreciated his honesty!
     
  28. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    hi,

    I came here looking for info on what to say to my parents tonight about being a first year teacher. (I have subbed for a long time and am a career changer)

    I am just curious for those of you who do a curriculum night, don't you think a question parents have in their minds is "how long have you been teaching?" Also, in elementary, parents talk and already know if they have the first year teacher. I am a parent and I guarantee you at the school where I am every parent knows through word of mouth whether or not they have a first year teacher. I think it is wrong to hide this at the elementary level.

    Isn't it best to say you are new but
    • This is what I've done
    • This is what I think my experience can bring to the classroom and your kids
      This is what I hope your kids gain from my class

    And then move on? I don't know how I could introduce myself without covering this info, especially since they have seen me around campus for several years.

    I'm really confused now. If someone has words of advice please post.

    Lemon
     
  29. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    I agree with everything you've said. I didn't necessarily "tell" my students that they were my first year class during my first year of teaching, but it didn't matter because they already knew. Parents of elementary students talk and before I was even officially hired, everyone knew I was the one who just graduated from college.

    Everything you said sounds good about telling them you are new but that you have high expectations and about your experience.

    I don't understand all these posts I've seen on this thread about keeping it a secret. I guess the people who are posting these "keep your first year a secret" don't live in as small of a town as I do!!!! There's no way to keep your first year teaching a secret for more than.... an hour....in a town the size of mine!
     
  30. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I guess it really wasn't much of a choice to me...

    I did my practicum where I ended up with a job... Most people knew that I had just done my practicum, but it never came up. Having said that, my previous job was not a classroom, but a resource room. Now I am still not in the classroom, but doing Behavior Interventiony stuff, so hopefully by next year I will have my first classroom, and I won't need to say that it's my first year.
     
  31. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I've always been very open about it but always stressed that we would learn together. I think it can be somewhat of a teachable moment to show kids that at one point or another, we are all dealing with something new and unfamiliar but that if we rise to the occasion and don't give up, we can excel--I think it can humanize a teacher for them and it won't affect your authority as long as they understand that even though things are also new to you, you are ready and willing to take charge and be a decisive leader.
     
  32. reverie

    reverie Companion

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    So true! I wouldn't want to be anyone's first patient.
     
  33. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    We had a new teacher last year, and we all did what posters have said here and told her NOT to tell the kids she was new. But she did. And her kids would say to me, "Well, she's new, so she doesn't really know how to teach [fill in the blank] yet." Now, actually, she had no education background and I think really didn't know how to teach yet, but even if that's the case we don't want that to be what the kids are saying about us, right? This teacher also became too chummy with the kids -- MySpace and Facebook friends with them, etc. -- so I'm sure it wasn't just telling them it was her first year, but it's hard to imagine a circumstance in which it would help.

    This year's new teacher has her act together a lot more. We all told her to mention her student teaching so as to imply she'd been a "real" teacher there, and that's what she's done. She has a kid who had last year's new teacher, and she said, "Oh, I loved Miss So and So, her class was so fun" and new teacher said, "Well, I'm glad you loved her class because you're going to think mine is hard." Ha! I think she'll have a lot fewer problems as a result of her stand-offish approach. Because to me, that's what it boils down to -- if you are discussing your experience, then you've set the tone that it's ok to ask you personal questions right off the bat, and things can only get more chummy and relaxed from there.
     
  34. reverie

    reverie Companion

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    Wow, what age level was this? Regardless, I didn't think it was ever okay to add students on myspace and facebook.
     
  35. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    It's high school.

    This year we've been told specifically that we can't have students as online "friends" (duh, right?) mainly because of this one new teacher. But on the other hand, the school hired her with no experience and no background, so can it blame a 22 year old with no training for making some mistakes? I remember discussing "Freedom Writers" with her, and I think that movie was her inspiration/training more than anything else. She didn't know what to do for a living and saw this unrealistic movie about a self-centered teacher who thought she was the only one who could "save" her students and thought, yeah, that should be me . . . (This is pretty much what she said about the movie, minus the self-centered part, which I added after seeing it -- the whole thing about how the teacher wanted to be the only high school English teacher this one group of kids ever had, with no concern for switching up other teachers' schedules and without being open to loving/helping a new batch of kids.)

    This really isn't her fault though. She knows what she has been taught. Why are we hiring uncertified teachers? Why aren't we observed more often? Why haven't we been told we can't teach young adult literature about 11 year olds to 16 year olds? That's her plan for this month; to teach some young adult book to her accelerated classes. Whatever. I can't help the fact that she doesn't have more training/direction.
     
  36. am elisheva

    am elisheva Rookie

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    NO way do I ever tell my students that I'm new; I just tell them it's my first year at that school since it is (my 2nd year teaching) but I always say I'm older than I look (I look very young for 25) and I've been teaching for several years. I include all the tutoring in college, student teaching and my first year.

    When I meet parents on Open House, my age will not be discussed. I've had parents ask me my age in front of their students and I politely respond "older than I look" because I just don't feel comfortable revealing that. I could easily pass for a student myself some days...I reveal my personality and interest over time, just not personal info like age or experience. I don't see how it's relevant to an average freshman; they're looking for a weakness, not a resume. But I plan on answering those questions (to an extent) in April or May when they've earned my trust with that info.
     
  37. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Well I had my curriculum night and it went great! The parents afterwards were coming up saying their children loved my class! They were happy with the communication I give them on classroom happenings (email). They said they were relieved that I had my own children and had been through this with my own kids. I told them I knew what it was like to have one who struggled with reading, one who loved school, one who hated school etc.

    They were all very nice to me and at the end of the night all of my Wish List item things but one were gone. (we are allowed to put needs of the classroom up at meet the teacher and curriculum night!)

    I think high school is a whole different ballgame. I am elementary.

    Thank you for you suggestions and comments.


    :love:
    Lemon
     
  38. Ms. T

    Ms. T Rookie

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    Last year was my first year teaching. This is a second career for me so I am older than many first year teachers- 43. When asked, I informed my students that it was my first teaching position. I then explained that changing careers allowed me to begin my dream job. I want my students to realize that change can occur at any age and that they should never feel that they are locked into a position. I had very positive feedback from students, parents, and faculty.
     
  39. Green_eyed_gal

    Green_eyed_gal Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I didn't tell my students that this is my first year... I was the on site sub last year so the kids have seen my around and just assume I've been teaching for awhile. If a parent asked me I wouldn't lie to them.

    I'm a career changer and I'm older than most new teachers so I think that helps with parents questioning how long I've been teaching. I really worried about this because our school has a reputation for having tough parents, but all my parents have been great so far!!
     
  40. SarahJ

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I'm worrying about this for when I get my 1st job. I look about 16! Luckily my glasses make me look a little older! if kids ask me my age I tell them its none of their business :D or I tell them I'm older enough to teach them.
     
  41. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Sep 10, 2008

    Well, I started this thread, but I haven't had time to come back to it for awhile until just now! The first week and a half of school have been incredibly crazy! Our school is very different and I travel between 4 classrooms and teach from 11:30-5:45! I have block and non-block classes, and all the students' schedules have been completely rearranged, so I'm still getting new students and having other ones leave...

    Anyways, so I haven't had time to come back here. :)

    But yes, I have let on that I am a new teacher. I didn't expressly advertise it, but when the kids asked, I was honest. "Yes, it's my first year in a regular classroom, but I used to work on sets as a studio teacher". No one's seemed to have had a problem with it. I was very firm upfront, I stated my expectations clearly, I communicate with parents via the class website, and I will answer any questions about my teaching experience.

    I do look young too though, and was confused as a student on my first day. But I expected this. In a way, I think the kids like this. I don't act like them at all in dress, manner, or speech, but I'm young enough to kind of understand their world.
     

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