The beginning teachers really are quite cute. Six of them made it to the meeting tonight and shared a few of their joys and woes. For the most part, they're having a good time in the classroom. Their greatest frustrations are not with kids---but with learning to navigate the system: getting professional leave, feeling comfortable enough to disagree with their peers, or managing things. We munched on cookies and found some humor in their respective situations.
I am excited by the learning goals that they've set for themselves between now and the next meeting. It is no small task to get consensus simply because their teaching assignments are so wildly different: 2 career and technical education, 2 high school self-contained SPED and one elementary self-contained SPED, 1 high school math, and one high school PE. There isn't a lot of middle ground there, but we found a section of resource items that they all felt they could pull from. Their goal is to try one new thing from the list by December and then come back to share out what they did, samples of student work, and their reflections.
I modeled some different reading strategies with them and we did a lot of talking about grades. I told them that I'm not there to say there's the right way to handle these, but now is the time for them to challenge their own thinking. Research indicates that career-long patterns get set by about 6 months into one's career. Better to ponder now...and with others in the same boat...before their ideas are completely cemented.
It was good for them to have the camaraderie this evening. They need to know that they're not the only ones with struggles, even if they are each alone in their classrooms during the day. I hope to get out and be with them more in the next few weeks. I wish them much success.