Your First Year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 6, 2014

    I saw this video posted on Diane Ravitch's blog today: http://vimeo.com/43565010

    I love that she approaches the stresses of SuperTeacher expectations with humor. She got me thinking about my first year teaching.

    I was so excited to actually have a job and teaching a grade level I had experience with that I didn't really think about the negatives at all. My classroom was a room divided with a partition with the bilingual classroom next door. I had 27 students-we were in tight quarters to say the least. The one thing I look back at with regret is I don't remember consciously differentiating for them at all. I had LEP kids that I didn't even know were LEP when I taught them. There were kids who were probably GT, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do to get them to apply for services. I do still have that class picture and can remember some of their names. They would be 17 now I think.

    Any reflections you want to share from your first year?
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 6, 2014

    That was hilarious! I want to get her book now.

    My first year wasn't that long ago. Honestly, much of it is such a blur. I was an LTS, and came in half way through the year. I was doing so much in addition to that, including completing my teaching credential and working 2 afterschool jobs.

    I remember I had a hugely rough time with one class in particular, one student in particular. And I definitely wasn't providing the level of instruction I am today, but I do think that despite coming in half way through the year, I made a lot of connections with these students and they appreciated me sticking around because they had cycled through 3 other subs and expected I would just leave them as well.

    It was definitely tough, and it was an inner-city school, so I was hearing a lot of horror stories about their home-lives. I think I probably wanted to stop teaching a few times that year because it was so emotionally and physically draining, but decided that I was going to stick it through for at least that year for them, and after the year ended I realized that I could definitely keep doing this as long as I got better at it.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jul 6, 2014

    I have posted this before, but my first year has been my easiest year teaching. I had a very small number of students- I think there were about 12 on my caseload. I worked with other students as part of RtI, but it wasn't the same level of responsibility. My whole team was fairly new so there weren't a whole lot of things established that I had to try and "fit into" as a new person. The principal and most of the teachers also disliked the person I replaced, so they all acted like even the smallest things I did were brilliant. I was allowed to make all my own decisions as far as scheduling, programming, the way I taught lessons, etc. All of my students were extremely well behaved (seriously, I maybe had to hand out a minor consequence 3-4 times, and nothing major), and the parents were easy to work with too. I was in a very small school with 10-12 teachers, and it was an easy staff to fit in with and get along with (the next year we combined with a middle school, and it just wasn't the same).

    I would say that I did a lot of unnecessary work and spent time on things that weren't important. I've gotten so much more efficient since then. I used to come in on Sundays and work for 8-9 hours just basically doing lesson plans for the week. Like the OP said, I was also just so thrilled that I'd actually landed a full time elementary job after graduation that the work/stress never bothered me. I've also gotten a lot better at trusting my instincts with kids, whereas my first year I felt like I had to do interventions "with fidelity" more. Now if it's not working, I change things immediately. I used to feel like I had to do something that wasn't working for 6-8 weeks to say I "tried an intervention with fidelity."
     
  5. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2014

    I want her book too!. Well I still am in my first year of teaching technically since I only taught 2 months/10 weeks last year. I can relate a bunch to what she was saying though. I thought I was going to be so good and do so much for those kids, but I was not able to be a super teacher and felt like I was letting those kids down, and doing a bad job.
    I think looking back on it now after coming in after like 5 subs and no prior real teacher I did good to just survive. I was even able to do some differentiation for my ELD kids even if the majority of it was for the beginning kids I certainly was doing more for them than the subs were. Prior to my being there the kids were only like taking tests, and watching movies, at least as far as I could tell looking at the grades they had ( all tests). I tried to get them doing more projects, labs and meaningful activities that could count towards their grade. I even was able to partially eventually tame the dreaded 6th period class which was the reason many of the subs left, and get the rest of the classes to calm down and follow the rules, and learn.

    I do need to work on differentiating more of my lessons especially for gate/ special needs kids. I need to incorporate more activities and chances for kids to show me their learning too. Sometimes I had to give my 6th period bookwork instead of a lab because their behavior was so out of control when they worked in a group that I could not trust them to be safe and not break stuff. They could only handle working singly or in pairs on quiet activities. I need to work on classroom management so that I do not have to worry about having a class who can not do the same activities as my other classes. I feel I failed them in that.

    One thing that helped me was finding a graph that showed the stages most 1st year teachers go through and realizing I was in the disillusionment stage. It helped to know my feeling were normal, and it was a stage that I would pass though. I think I am in the reflection state with this post LOL. Here is the chart http://www.weac.org/professional_resources/new_teacher_resources/beg_handbook/phases.aspx

    I am just hopeful that I will learn more and so better and become a better teacher with time.
    I guess when times are bad it is good to think of the things you are good at so you know you are not a complete failure, and then also look at what can be improved.
     
  6. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 7, 2014

    I'm reading her book now....it's hilarious!

    My first year was horrendous. Upon reflection, I had little idea what I was doing and was totally in the wrong grade level for my style of teaching, but I survived. I'm going on year 4!
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 7, 2014

    I taught four grade levels between two schools, completed my first-year internship stuff, and started grad school. I started my day with seniors, then juniors, then freshman, and ended my day at the middle school with 30 7th graders. I had NO middle school experience.

    Those seniors are turning 38-40 this year!

    I'm currently dating one of those freshman. :whistle: Well, he wasn't in my class, but was in that group. He will be 36 in August.
     
  8. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 7, 2014

    I loved the video! I just placed a hold on the book at my library and I'm excited to get my hands on it! I've been teaching for 14 years but I think reading her book will help me to feel a bit better about all the steps I've taken since my first year. It's good to boost your own morale in this job because it's too easy to slip into the "dark side." I hope reading this book will remind me of all the hard work I've done and how it has paid off over the years. I love teaching and I especially love hearing the common stories we all relate to!
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 7, 2014

    [​IMG]
     
  10. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 7, 2014

    I'm confused... :dizzy:
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 7, 2014

    This is great! I am going to share it on my FB teacher page. Love it!!
     
  12. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2014

    Love it!
     
  13. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Jul 8, 2014

    I remember my first year well. I think overall it went ok. But, over time, I have just learned a lot....I have learned to let very little get to me and that is the biggest thing, really. I have also learned to be extremely efficient with my own time. So much of how we improve comes with time and experience. Still would not want to re-live it.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 9, 2014

    I was never overwhelmed my first year, but I do remember feeling like I had no idea what I was doing..I didn´t feel like a real teacher at all. I have definitely learned so much since that first year and have so much more I want to learn.
     
  15. Mrs. Rader

    Mrs. Rader Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2014

    After watching this video, I would love to read her book! It is so true what she says!

    My first year went by rather smoothly. I was hired late in the season and stepped into the classroom in October. The last teacher had vacated the position to take a job offer from another district. So, there I was... tossed into a combined classroom of three grade levels... with an unfamiliar curriculum (the school uses ABeka program books). Added to that, I had a student in the autism spectrum to integrate into the classroom without an aide.

    Looking back on it, it seems like such a challenge! I was just so happy to have my own class... I dived right in and got to work. That special needs child ended up being the sunshine in my day. I grew to be so attached to all my students and did my very best to accommodate their needs. In all honesty, Math was the most difficult subject to organize for the three grade levels.
     

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