Ideal Rookie Situation

Some folks in teacher prep programs are lucky enough to get multiple offers. How to choose? What factors? My experience has been that $ variation doesn't matter much. I.e., it's unlikely that a newly minted teacher will choose Job A at $47k over Job B at $42k.

What do we advise folks to look for?

a. Peer teachers you like and respect

b. A principal who "gets it"

c. Curric-in-a-box -- not something scripted, but good materials typically from the previous teacher that allow you to your time each day practicing and modifying an existing lesson, rather than creating from scratch.

Alison K, who completed our teacher residency in July, wrote my colleague Orin a note about her new job.

I really love my school. I have a fabulous seventh grade team who gives me a ton of support!

Also, Jesse R is an amazing principal. I can not emphasize that enough. I am given a ton of helpful feedback. He visits my classes regularly and also watches video of my classes (I try to tape at least twice a week). We practice, practice, practice!

As far as lesson plans go, they are pretty set in stone for me. I have inherited a whole curriculum and make changes accordingly, but so far haven't had to make anything from scratch.

Jackpot. That's all a rookie can ask for. And when you have a Triple Crown of peer support, principal support, and curric-in-a-box, it frees a rookie teacher to try new small things, instead of just hanging on for dear life.

Alison just started a new thing in her class, called Thank You Thursday.

Each Thursday, during the first 3 minutes of class, my students write “Thank you Thursday” notes. This is a classroom tradition I created which allows students to thank a peer or a teacher who has done something exceptional for them this week.

Sometimes you get really weird ones: “I want to thank Ja’meer because he’s my bro…”

Or funny ones: “I am thankful for Princess because she woke me up when I was drooling in science class…”

Other times, you get ones that surprise you just when you think they’ve made a voodoo doll of you and your entire family. This student wanted to thank all his 7th grade teachers this week. His message is below:

I would like to thank all my teachers because they have pushed me and know I can do better. Like Ms. Kelly who engages me in class discussions. Mrs. Ballard who helps push us and exceed our own limits. Ms. Bernett who teaches us great science and gives me and everyone else an opportunity to earn paycheck dollars. Ms. DaSilva helps and tries to get me on track as far as my behavior and Ms. Bromley takes the time to help me and others in MPS class to get a better interpretation of the topic in math. Also, Ms. McNickle who helps us with our math and pushes us.