Friday, September 30, 2016

Take care of those new teachers! by Mike Siekkinen

For those of us that have been doing this for a fewyears (or more), it is often hard to remember that first year teaching. Mine was a baptism of fire. I was hired provisionally and did not do student teaching. Having been an instructor in the US Navy and having several degrees including a Master’s in Education, I thought I would be ready for anything. I thought because of my magnetic personality, quick wit and experience that students would be sitting at my feet waiting for me to feed them knowledge and then thanking me for the experience. A kind of “kumbaya’ moment. 

Boy was I wrong!  A number of times that first year I asked myself, “What did I get myself into?”

More than one day I went home thinking I did not want to do this. If not for some very good, experienced and kind teachers looking out for me, I would have floundered. 

So what I am saying is make the extra effort and look out for the new teachers in your school. Do the daily “check” with them as to how they are doing or if they need any help. Make the effort to get to know them. In other words, remember your first year teaching and how it was challenging, scary and maybe lonely. With a little extra attention, you could make a huge difference and make that first year teachers life better (while also helping the students).
Step up and mentor one of the newbie teachers. 

Have you mentored any new teachers? Do you have any advice for the newbies? Does your school have a formal mentoring program?  

Dr. Mike Siekkinen, a retired U.S. Navy submariner, became a teacher as a second career. He teaches history at St Marys Middle School as well as Adult and Career Education at Valdosta State in Georgia.