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During their first year, new teachers experience some extreme phases of teaching. According to the New Teacher Center, teachers experience five phases.

This time of year, our new teachers may discover the disillusionment phase. They begin to realize the amount of time teaching takes, their management and planning may not be going the way they had envisioned, and they might question why they became a teacher in the first place. As a mentor or colleague, you may witness your provisional educator "express self-doubt, have lower self-esteem, and question their professional commitment" (New Teacher Center, 2017).

Disillusionment

Our department recently worked with lead mentors in Jordan District to illustrate the phases and share strategies to help teachers through them. Mentors and colleagues can provide emotional support for their teachers by genuinely listening to them, encouraging them, giving positive feedback and helping them with perspective.

Instructionally, mentors can help plan lessons, observe their teaching and model lesson ideas for them, and help provide ideas to help with management challenges.

Mentors can also help new educators with logistical items, such as making copies, offering advice on parent teacher conferences or evaluations, assisting them with grading, and finding books or materials that will help them with areas the new teacher is concerned with.

If we can support our new educators through the disillusionment phase, we have a better chance of retaining them. As mentors look to support their new teachers and provide the emotional, instructional and logistical support they need through the phases, they can make a huge difference for new teachers.

Resources:
New Teacher Center. (2017). From surviving to thriving: the phases of first-year teaching. 

Mentor Training New Teacher Phases document

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This is a suggested guide to help new teachers know how to map out their provisional years.

1st Year Teachers:
*Collaborate with your mentor
*JPAS Training
*Effective Teacher Training
*District Professional Development Classes (based on departments)
*Pass the Praxis PLT (if you feel ready!)

 

2nd Year Teachers:
*Pass the Praxis PLT (all level teachers--recommended to be done by this year)
*District Professional Development Classes (based on departments)
*UEN Classes/Endorsements (all level teachers--if you feel ready)
*ESL, Reading, Math, STEM, Ed Tech, Gifted and Talented

 

3rd Year Teachers
*Pass the Praxis PLT (should be completed by this year for license purposes)
*2 Hour Suicide Prevention Training (can be completed any time during the 3 years)
*Upgrade to Level 2 License (see http://mentor.jordandistrict.org/eye/licensing/)
*UEN Courses/Endorsements (all level teachers)
*ESL, Reading, Math, STEM, Ed Tech, Gifted and Talented
*University learning opportunities (BYU (CITES), UVU, USU, UofU, etc.)

For extra help with licensing, check out the EYE Brochure through USOE.

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At this time of year, when so many of our students are in the thick of test taking, it seems natural to think about our own year's growth. How high have we climbed in the last year on what John Hattie calls the "ladder of excellence?" Whatever role in which we are presently cast, we might ask the same question. Whether a seasoned veteran mentor or a wide-eyed newbie, we are each somewhere reaching ever higher.

One of the primary objectives of a new teacher and mentor program at a school ought to be a focus on accelerating this rate of climb for new teachers and mentors alike. If the relationship is truly collaborative, both are enriched through the mutual benefit of experiences and expertise.

The type of growth hoped for in a mentoring relationship can only occur through a process of dialogue. As Paulo Freire describes it, dialogue is dependent on both members of the relationship having an equal voice and working together to construct an improved understanding. He says that "no one can say a true word alone—nor can she say it for another, in a prescriptive act which robs others of their words. Dialogue is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world."

In such a complex profession as education, if we are to advance, we must engage in a constant process of naming and renaming the world. At the core of the work of an educator is something like what Wallace Stevens describes as a "response to the daily necessity of getting the world right." And to really get it right, we will need to share in the expertise of others who are similarly engaged in the same process.

 

 

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One challenge of instructional coaching is to help teachers move from an academic understanding toward a practical and real-world implementation of best instructional practices. This challenge is complicated by at least two factors.

The first of these is context. In order to make feedback most meaningful to the teacher, it should be given within the context of his or her own classroom. Doing so increases the immediacy and relevance of the feedback as well as the likelihood that the feedback will lead to improvement of practice.  Perhaps the best way to give contextualized feedback about classroom instruction is through virtual coaching.  This is done by video recording a classroom activity and having a coach provide feedback through written comments.  If the comments are time-stamped, the level of specificity of the feedback increases.

The second factor is time.  The goal should be to decrease the time intervening between when the practice occurs and the feedback is given.  It would be best if coaching could occur in real-time.  This is similar to what a coach of a basketball team might do.  It is not uncommon for a coach to give instructions from the sideline.  In a similar way, an instructional coach can give instructions to the teacher in real-time from the sideline.  Of course, the obstacle to doing this is to not create a distraction to learning.

In the video produced by The Teaching Channel, they discuss ways to make these ideas take shape in the classroom.  With the potential benefits of improved classroom instruction, it might be worthwhile for instructional coaches to give these strategies a try.

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The return to work after an extended break is often accompanied with a mix of emotions.  During the time off, many remember that they enjoy spending time with family and friends.  In fact, the time of rediscovery is something more veteran teachers eagerly anticipate and plan for.  Looking forward to time off is nice.  The return to work/reality is not always as eagerly anticipated.  However, the question that must be raised is whether there could be another way.  Is there a way to enjoy life between the breaks?  Is it necessary to put family and self interests on hold with each return to work?  This is a problem that many new educators struggle to solve.  Striking an acceptable balance between work, home, and self interests is a tricky one.  One source suggests that there are some steps that teachers can take to more easily arrive at a sort of equilibrium of work and personal life.  Additionally, Andy Puddicombe makes a compelling case for regularly doing nothing.

Work

  • Work smarter, not harder

  • Make friends

  • Give yourself a break

  • Invest in your development

  • Celebrate accomplishments

Life

  • Draw a line between work and home

  • Cultivate a life outside the classroom

  • Schedule a time to do nothing

  • Get your ZZZZs

  • Practice reflective writing

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This time of year we may see new teachers looking haggard and feeling stressed and depressed. They might be saying, "Is this worth it?" and "This is so much harder than I thought!" If you are a mentor to a new teacher experiencing this phase of disillusionment, there are some things you can do to help your new teacher through this phase.

Emotional
Emotionally we can support new teachers by providing encouragement and listening. We can give positive feedback and help them keep perspective. Continuing to develop that trusting relationship and lifting their spirits can be one of the most powerful things you can do as a mentor. Find out their favorite treat (chocolate works wonders) and bring them an encouraging note.

Instructional
Teachers going through disillusionment may benefit from positive feedback on things you see them succeeding at. They may images-1need help/support with lesson planning. Sitting with them to reflect on their teaching highlighting positive things they have done may boost them back up. This may also be a good time to model lessons for them or video one another to observe teaching in both classrooms. Support them in planning and scheduling testing as they move forward.

Logistical
Parent-teacher conferences can cause some anxiety and stress for new teachers. Help them with planing for conferences and offer advice as needed. You can help with finding resources to help them and getting supplies ready for them. They may need a reminder of grading policies and help with copies. Be observant and you might see ways you can alleviate some extra stress from their life.

 

For more information on teacher phases, check out this article.

 

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When you started the year, you didn’t know what to ask. Now you do! Research tells us that New Teachers get the most out of being mentored when they are able to ask for help; especially when they know who and how to ask.  In addition to your mentor, there are others you can ask for ideas.  Older, more experienced teachers are great resources to assist you with any questions you may have about students, curriculum, procedures, and how to end the year.  You will get helpful responses to your requests when you do the following:

  • unnamed You have the responsibility and right to ask others for help.
  •  Ask for help in different ways: email, face-to-face, notes, etc.
  •  Be willing to ask teachers outside your school for help.
  •  When you ask for help, decide whether you are asking for action, information or emotional support.

Remember to thank your mentor and others for giving you support this year.

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We have made it to Spring Break! We hope that you take time to relax and enjoy your time off from work. Here are some fun ideas of things to do or places to visit that might help you to rejuvenate:

Go walking in a park
Go on a hike
Take a bicycle ride
Go bowling
Visit a museum
Take a nap
Visit a library & check out a book for fun
Invite guests for the first BBQ of the season
Prep the soil for your flowers/garden

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Check out some place new such as the following:

 

  • Museum of Natural Curiosity
  • The Leonardo
  • The Aquarium
  • Tracy Aviary
  • Clark Planetarium
  • Red Butte Garden

 

 

 

Take time to smell the flowers and enjoy your spring break.

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Listed below are a few suggestions to demonstrate that we are professionals:

  • Be on time
  • Dress in a professional manner
  • Follow rules, policies, and directions
  • Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content you teach.
  • Learn more about current best teaching practices
  • Be organized and efficient
  • As a new teacher, be appreciative of your colleagues’ experience and expertise
  • As a veteran teacher, realize the new and fresh ideas that new teachers bring to the profession and incorporate them into your teaching practice
  • Use school resources wisely
  • Be flexible
  • Resist the urge to complain.
  • Remember to laugh every day
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