Becoming a Teacher: How to Succeed Once You've Landed the Job
NEW TECHNOLOGY and approaches to teaching are creating many possibilities for educators today. At the same time, today's teachers still face many of the same challenges as teachers in the past—conflicting job expectations, reduced resources, and limited freedom.
You learned many important things in your teacher education program. Still, all the education courses in the world won't help you manage your relationships with other teachers, staff, the principal, and parents. This chapter gives you tips for being successful during your first year on the job.
You got the job you dreamed of and are ready to begin your career. Taking out your education manuals, you start to plan the first lessons. You collect all the teacher's editions and manuals available and read all the students' records in the guidance files. You think you are ready to start, but one major ingredient must be added to the mix: input from senior staff members.
The key to your happiness and high student achievement often depends on your interaction within the school community, that is, your working relationship with your colleagues. Building these relationships is the most important first step to take when starting any new job. Every school has a culture. Your job is to learn this culture and become part of it. Doing this will help you succeed as a teacher and can determine your ultimate success in the classroom.
A school is a complete community—self-contained in many ways, yet part of another community, that is, the district that encompasses the building. The school district (the official hiring agency) defines the set of rules and regulations that structure your workday. These regulations often appear in a policy manual and provide specific prescriptions for handling problems, expectations for your teaching day, and general do's and don'ts set by the board of education. In addition, there may be a teacher contract from your union or professional association that explains the specific details of your job. However, the unwritten code of behavior within your particular building is what you want to capture before you begin to teach.
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