Finding dedicated, highly qualified new teachers is always a concern of public education. In my view, I have two major concerns with new teachers. First, their training is a concern. Secondly, the support that they receive concerns me.
The last two student teachers in our primary grade classrooms, one in kindergarten and one in first grade, were poorly prepared for their intern experience. This was no fault of the two ladies. Their educational institution and professors are to blame.
The two women had no idea about primary grade literature, which is a very key element to teaching. They were shocked at the amount of information now taught in the lower grades. The kindergarten intern stated that she did not even know that we taught literacy in kindergarten. Our entire curriculum is almost completely based around literature.
The supervisor was very relaxed and unprofessional about observations. I feel that ensuring that student teachers are ready and qualified to graduate into the teaching profession is a very important job.
Due to the lack of experience that the two education students had, the intern period was very frustrating for both the students and the cooperating teachers. Both cooperating teachers discussed their concerns, not about the women but rather about the program, with the supervisor.
My second concern with new teachers is the support that they receive. Mentors are very important during a teacher’s first couple of years. The types of teachers that you work with greatly affect your teaching style and habits.
I am not considered to be a new teacher. However, I am a new kindergarten teacher. This was only my second year at that grade level. I have been blessed the past couple of years to work with some very strong, dedicated, and knowledgeable teachers. I can tell through self-assessment that I am now a stronger teacher. I have a great belief in the teaching styles that I use. I feel more confident and prepared after my last two years.
The mentors for new teachers should be monitored and strategically placed to ensure a great and strong experience for everyone.