Getting started & training students in classroom behaviors and attitudes feels a little like trying to make a square wheel roll. However, hope lies ahead! After enough shaping, the corners become smoothed and eventually rounded and things start rolling. The time from square to round is the land of the unknown at first. Each classroom personality and makeup along with teacher experience and know-how are some of the deciding factors in this rounding process.
So, what if you’re a new teacher? You may be one who has not lived through start to finish yet, to know first-hand the fruits that come after a year of growth. Has that square wheel budged yet?
We have many new teachers on our campus this year. In whatever capacity “new teacher” means for each, one thing is certain – they are all new to our teaching community. New teachers (and veteran!) need supporters coming with their filing tools to help round those square corners.
At the beginning of my teaching career, I was stuck. I didn’t begin as I had imagined. I was only able to get hired on as a part-time Kindergarten teacher. (I must emphasize that I’m in no way saying “only Kindergarten” as though it were a lesser teaching job. Far from it!!! I feel that K and 1st grade teachers have years of huge impact and demand.) Classroom openings were few, so I took the part-time job to get my foot in the door.
Then as the start of my first year came closer, I got a call to add on another part-time K classroom but at a second campus. Two locations, two teaching teams of various dynamics, two principals, two different socio-economic student bodies, and two mascots (hey, that’s a big deal….I had to change mid-day from my Coyote spirit tee to my Texans tee!).
My square wheel that year was made of granite! Thank goodness I had teachers around me with mega-filing tools in their tool belts, who graciously and patiently helped me deal with… well, everything. I had principals who came around with smiles and knew the heartbeat of the faculty and students (they probably came to me with a defibrillator in their back pocket…), and amazing instinct to be a step ahead of everyone in the right direction.
The Real Deal in all of this is that the front line, the teachers around you, influence and impact the square wheel that we all have at the beginning of the year.
Check in frequently with those new. Look around to see what you can offer that will lighten their load. Learn what new techniques they’re bringing in to the profession. Share some short-cuts, offer a listening ear, and don’t forget to laugh along way. It’s going to be a great year. Have your file handy!