At the end of my first week of teaching, I was leaving work about 5pm with my briefcase (I had already established myself as some sort of nut that worked long past dismissal and took things home in my briefcase to work in evenings – what’s a briefcase anyway?) when my vice-principal opened the back door to his office. I wished him a good weekend and he invited me into his office for a minute. Uh oh. Nothing good ever happens when you go to a vice-principal’s office but wait — I was on the other side of the fence now.
It was a short visit. He asked me how I liked the school and the kids and the answer to both was just over the top. He then told me to leave the briefcase in his office and I could pick it up on Monday. But…. he was having no further discussion and told me about a few things I could do in the Windsor area instead of working at home.
When I returned on Monday, feeling really relaxed but worried that I wasn’t prepared, he asked if I had a good weekend and if there was anything else that he could do for me. I said that I’d really like to connect with other Computer Science teachers and he understood since I was the only one in the school. I would get that opportunity at some subject specific event at the end of October. Wow.
I think about today’s context and am amazed that people could actually teach like that. If I’m not connecting with someone and learning something, anything daily, it is just so weird.
I’ve got to believe that next Tuesday when classes are over, you’ll have an end of the day staff meeting to discuss how the day went, what needs to be addressed for success within the school, and the lot. As you sit there, take a look at the staff faces. Chances are, there will be at least one new face there. That face may be puzzled, frustrated, excited, exhausted, eager and a lot of other things as a consequence of the end of the first day in the profession. But, just pause for a second and wonder if that person really has to wait until the first professional development day to make connections.
If that’s the case, you need to take her/him aside and introduce Twitter as a way to build those connections and that community in the meantime! And, they should start to blog – wait, let’s not get too carried away – it’s just the first day on the job.
But, it’s the connections and the ability to discover new things and affirm old things that will make the time spent on Twitter so worthwhile. If the person is a professional and wants to exceed, they’re going to jump at the opportunity to get the immediate interactions that are possible. While at it, introduce them to the Ontario Educators list. Send them to the Ontario Edubloggers resource. Expose them to the wealth of resources and discussions that are available there – available to them on their terms and when they have the time to learn. It’s a great place to start.
As a result of yesterday’s post, I got an inquiry from a new colleague in Kingston wanting to know what I would consider important for the first day with new students. My reply was:
- Learn their names – a friend of mind in sales reminded be all the time that you can make a lot of mistakes but they’re overlooked if you just remember people’s names;
- Learn one thing about each student – particularly in Computer Science if you can tailor problems to something your students are interested in, they’ll be more engaged that just working on the standard off the shelf stock questions;
- Set your classroom expectations. When can they use the computers and for what? Those expectations need to be set right off the bat so that you’re not having to constantly re-aim throughout the year.
Where else can you can these discussions the moment that you need to have them? Where else can you get that just in time professional learning? Where else can you connect with the best of the connected educator?
You know where. Get that quality Professional Learning Network started early in their career and they’ll thank you for it. Let’s get these new Ontario Educators off to a good start to their career.
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