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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 7, May/June 2006

Three new programs to help new teachers

by Ray Myrtle

Remember the first week of school? As a child, no doubt it was full of excitement and a little apprehension. If you think back to your first week of school as a teacher, I suspect that the excitement was still there, but there was considerably more apprehension.

If you were like most new teachers, a thousand questions arose in your head as you began that year: How should I set up my class? What should I do the first few days? Where are the supplies? How do you use the photocopier? Where are the textbooks? What will the students be like? How should I manage the class? What units should I begin with? How do I sign out books? And so on.

Starting the year off right is so important for new teachers and their students. It is especially challenging in our system because student teachers do not arrive in schools until after the critical first week of school is over. New teachers have a gap in their preparation and have not had the chance to learn how to set up their classroom and start organizing their instruction.

To fill this gap, I have written a booklet called The First Week of School. The booklet provides specific suggestions for beginning intermediate classroom teachers for each day, including to-do lists.

The BC Provincial Intermediate Teachers’ Association (PITA) is providing The First Week of School free to each new intermediate teacher when they receive their first full- or part-time contract position. Information on how to get the booklet is on the PITA web site: www.pita.bc.ca in the Early Career Teacher section.

As further support for new teachers, PITA is hosting the first Annual Resource Swap. The idea of the resource swap is similar to the Salvation Army Thrift stores, where good materials are recycled. Experienced teachers will donate units, books, and other material to the resource swap and we will provide the opportunity for new teachers to acquire some of the materials they need at a fraction of what it would cost otherwise. This event will be at Schou, the Burnaby Teachers’ Centre, on Saturday May 27. If you are an experienced teacher interested in donating materials, or a new teacher interested in attending, visit PITA’s web site in the Early Career section for more information.

PITA is also planning a New Teacher Workshop, August 27–29, 2006—the week before school begins, to help new teachers to get ready for the first few weeks of school. Participants will receive a copy of The First Week of School, further information about the specific suggestions in the booklet, and information about other units designed for intermediate students at the beginning of the year.

The workshop will be held in Burnaby, and teachers from elsewhere in the province are welcome to attend. For more information about this New Teacher Workshop, look on the PITA web site in late May or early June.

Ray Myrtle teaches at South Slope Elementary School, Burnaby, and is president of PITA.



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