The First Day of the Rest of Your Life: CABOCES Teacher Academy Supports New Teachers in Today’s Ever-Evolving Classroom
The bell rings on the first day of school, and the students come rushing through the halls, waiting for the ever-important moment they get to meet their new teacher. Throughout the Cattaraugus-Allegany region, we welcome many new teachers who, for some, are gearing up to their first classroom experiences, and in many cases, are just as eager as those students to get the school year underway. In an effort to assist new teachers, CA BOCES has continued to offer a collaborative-learning community for new teachers. Teacher Academy has opened its doors to those educators looking for a place to ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate with people experiencing many of the same successes and challenges as themselves.
Just as on the first day, new teachers were placed in a novel situation with colleagues, engaging in conversation, and reflecting on those first days of school: what went well? What didn’t? What would we change in the future? What are we looking forward to? As new teachers have found time and time again, it is vital that there be reflection on the instructional approaches implemented in the classroom. Many participants were able to share their personal experiences in an open forum and hear the thoughts and insights of others as to the ups and downs of their own first days.
One major element of new teacher experiences is the mentorship program that their school has set into play. Teachers seek out insight and advice from a mentor in their school building. As a part of this year’s academy, teachers are exploring the work of Meenoo Rami and her book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching. Rami advises new teachers to not get caught in the rut of seeking out the insights of one, but rather finding professional advice in a multitude of places, be it online networks, regional training experiences, or in their school building. Rami holds that one mentor is simply not enough, and so, new teachers were tasked with the challenge of finding an additional mentor to guide them in their professional experiences of year one.
As the initial session came to a close, this year’s participants were asked to set professional goals to support their growth as practitioners over the course of their first years. The goals, which ranged from organizational improvement, to classroom management strategy implementation, were established as a means to set a target for those teachers new to the schools in the CA-region. Often times, a first-year teacher has to grapple with many challenges, from lesson planning to time management, to learning the curriculum. In setting professional goals, the teachers in the program have an aim to work towards, and in turn, can also be reflective practitioners that consider what has worked for them, and what has not.
The Teacher Academy CLC has, and will continue to strive to support new teachers as they work through their first experiences in the classroom. In engaging in professional conversation, reflecting on personal practices, and setting goals, today’s new teachers will be outfitted with the tools to make this school year, and those for years to come, a true success.
For more information regarding the New Teacher Academy Collaborative Learning Community, please reach out toLauren Stuff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES Professional Development