This week, I attended New Teacher Orientation. About 70 teachers (most of them first-years) sat uncomfortably in hard plastic chairs with the temperature below freezing (okay, maybe not that cold, but close) while we listened to informational sessions about professionalism, ethics, safety hazards, insurance, and benefits. I find it interesting that the latest in educational research shows the ineffectiveness of lectures and sitting still when presenting new material, yet the first actual event that I participated in as an employed teacher involved exactly that.
The part of orientation that I was most interested in was the introducing of a practice of large districts called "trimming." In this practice, schools rely on spring enrollment numbers to project the number of students they expect in the fall. Based on those numbers, they hire and place teachers within the different schools of the district (there are 59 elementary schools). After the first 10 days, schools determine their actual enrollment numbers, and decide how many teachers they actually need, depending on the number of students. Then, the "trimming" process begins. Schools who have less students than expected will be required to "trim" their newest teachers, who will then be transferred to schools whose numbers show that they need more teachers. Yikes! As a first year teacher, this terrifies me! I don't want to go through 10 days of school at one place and then have to move to another school and start all over! I am praying that our 4th grade numbers will be high enough that I will not have to leave!
I also got to go and meet with the other teacher for my grade today and spend some time in my classroom. After asking my colleague around 1,000 questions, I began going through the gobs of books, teacher guides, leveled readers, manipulatives, etc, etc. It was a bit overwhelming but I at least feel like I am a little bit more organized got a small grip on what I have available to me in my classroom. When I left the building today, I was feeling better. My other team member is very nice and helpful, and I am beginning to get my classroom ready. Hopefully it will still be mine after the first 10 days of school! :)
Next step: Continue reading literature about the first weeks of school and gather things to get the room ready!
From the now-oriented new teacher,