In the beginning…

I start my first teaching position this fall sharing a fourth grade class with a veteran teacher. I will be teaching science, math, and art. Do you have any suggestions for a new teacher?
—V., Manitoba


This looks like a great way to begin your career. With a shared class you will have someone to share ideas and insights into the students you both teach. I would ask your partner for advice about school policies, the general practices employed in the school, and if she has any pearls of wisdom to start the year. She may have taught science, math, or art before; ask if she has any lessons, activities; and resources she might share. However, try not to mimic your partner or go to her for everything. You have to develop as the teacher you want to be and she has her work to do. While your partner has experience, you may bring new ideas in teaching.

Classroom management will likely be where your inexperience will be most evident. It is different stepping in to a classroom for a few weeks compared to being there for the whole year. Your partner will be of great help here, but if you go into your classroom well-prepared, plan your transitions well, and have a clear vision of the environment you want to create, you will have a good foundation upon which to manage your classroom.

Don’t expect your lessons to go perfectly. Just remember to reflect on everything you do and address anything you feel you need to improve upon. You also have a great opportunity to integrate your subjects – so look for projects that incorporate science, math, and art! Don’t shy away from trying something new.

Keep your eye on professional development opportunities and don’t be afraid to ask for support to continue your professional education.

Good luck in your career!

Image by Steve Buissine via Pixabay

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