- Supporting new teachers is essential during this time when everyone feels like a new teacher.
- Some of the best support new teachers can get is from other teachers or team members.
When I Was a New Teacher
I have been teaching for 11 years. During my first year of teaching, I wanted to do everything perfectly. In fact, I remember asking my mentor teacher so many questions. I sought her guidance for almost everything. Basically, I wanted to know what right looked like. As I think back, I realize I lacked confidence, so I took steps to ensure I didn’t mess anything up.
Early in my career, and at every new school, I was paired with a strong, veteran mentor teacher. My mentors provided the support and guidance I needed at the time. However, I also remember teachers from other grade levels being willing to help me, as well.
For example, teachers have modeled instructional strategies. They have listened to and have been responsive to my questions and concerns. Most importantly, my colleagues supported my efforts to learn and grow.I started thinking about the uncertainty, self-doubt, and worry new teachers may be experiencing while teaching during a pandemic and in a new-to-them environment. How are new teachers supported to meet goals and expectations? Click To Tweet
Supporting New Teachers: Teaching in a Pandemic
Since the pandemic started, and with the ever-changing landscape of teaching as a result, I have often felt like a new teacher again. Pandemic teaching requires all teachers to know and do more than in previous times. One example is the effective use of technology from the teacher and student perspective. Another example is meeting the diverse needs of diverse learners who may be learning remotely.
I started thinking about the uncertainty, self-doubt, and worry new teachers may be experiencing while teaching during a pandemic and in a new-to-them environment. How are new teachers supported to meet goals and expectations? Are new teachers given the tools and resources they need to be successful in the classroom? These are some of the questions that come to mind for me as Team Leader for my grade level.[scroll down to keep reading]
Supporting New Teachers: Where Support Comes From
So, I asked a few new teachers at my school how support from others (teachers/administration) had helped them this year. There were a couple of common themes in their responses.
- Most new-teacher support comes from grade-level members or the team leader/lead teacher.
- Other colleagues are often willing to help and answer questions new teachers have.
- Because new teachers don’t always know what support they need, blanket statements such as “Let me/us know if there is anything I/we can do to support you” are often ignored.
Supporting New Teachers: What I Learned
I would like to think administrators in every school are doing their very best to ensure all teachers receive the guidance and support needed to be effective educators. However, as a teacher, I realize the importance of teacher-to-teacher support, especially for new teachers.
About Donnetta Norris
Donnetta Norris is a 2nd grade teacher in Arlington, TX. She has been an educator for the last 10 years. She enjoys reading professional, children’s, and MG literature. Donnetta loves being in the classroom with her Scholars and is passionate about improving her writing craft as a teacher-writer. She also blogs at TeacherReaderWriter and The Rogue Scholar.