Today was the big "induction" for certificated staff who are new to the profession this year. This was not an easy day to plan. I had one regular education teacher (secondary math), two VocEd teachers, two secondary self-contained SPED teachers, one k-3 autism teacher, and one elementary level school psych/counselor. Six of them are coming to the profession after other life experiences. Talk about a need to differentiate instruction. This was the biggest challenge I've had in a very long time.
My theme in planning the morning was "generic but meaningful." Everyone needed to think about how to build a learner-centered environment. They would all have to be able to engage with parents in different ways. And each teacher will have a mountain of paperwork, e-mail, and calls to manage. We talked about some ways to make these things happen and resources to support their work. Discussions were good and things appear to be starting off on the right foot.
The afternoon session was at two different sites. The four teachers who will be working with SPED went to meet with the directors of Special Services in order to learn more about how the district deals with IEPs and related tasks. The rest of us headed to their school and set up their classrooms, got keys and class lists, talked with their mentors, and attempted to calm nerves and move forward.
All of these teachers are going to have a tough row to hoe, in addition to being newbies at teaching. None of them has a straightforward assignment. Even the one regular ed teacher has two sections of "math lab," which are brand new---and there is no curriculum or syllabus to hand her. I'll be there to support all of them however I can, although this role is new for me this year. We'll just have to struggle on the best we can.
I told them that my best suggestion for the first day was to wear professional, but comfy clothes so that they're not scratching and adjusting all day...and to put on plenty of deodorant in the morning. If you have some ideas I should pass along to our new teachers, please feel free to leave them in the comments.