As a recent graduate you are embarking on a rewarding and noble career. Whether you’re casual, permanently employed, working as a support teacher or on a temporary contract with your school, you are directly involved in educating, training and shaping some of the greatest minds that this world is yet to see. It’s exciting but it can also be quite daunting. In one year a student could spend more time with you (learning, observing, absorbing) than with any other adult role model. Therefore, the way that you approach your work, your professionalism and your ability to have a well-rounded life outside of the classroom truly matters. Teaching is so much more than textbooks and programs. You the teacher are central to the message. Students watch your interactions with other professionals and they notice the ways that you approach life and lifelong learning. For this reason, teachers have much more at stake than many other professionals.
If you are a bored carpet cleaner, for example, very few people will be affected or influenced by your blasé approach to your profession. The impact is far greater if a teacher’s approach to their profession is dull and indifferent. We all have off days, but the impact of consistent average teaching and apathy can have serious repercussions for impressionable young minds. On the other hand, exceptional teaching practices and an enthusiastic, supportive attitude can change students’ lives! At times it seems impossible to help students move forward but with continual professional development, loads of initiative and a resolute commitment to positive change you can have a huge impact.
Despite the opportunity to make such a positive impact, the sad reality is that many teachers do not make it past their first five years in the profession. As a new teacher, you will face many challenges in your early career. The overcrowded curriculum; parent, executive and school expectations; ever increasing liabilities; Workplace Health and Safety issues; mental and physical exhaustion; unfairness; bureaucracy; apathy and a multitude of conflicting priorities will constantly compete for your attention. It’s no wonder that many new teachers throw in the towel early. A study conducted in ‘Conditions that Support Early Career Teacher Resilience’ 2010 states that ‘In western countries we know that between 25% – 40% are likely to leave the profession in the first five years.’
This is not acceptable. We need the best, most dedicated, equipped and passionate new teachers in our schools. This is why I’m a New Teacher exists. Through real life teaching stories, innovative teaching resources, new teacher support programs and mentoring I aim to help you be the best educator and professional you can be.