Veteran Teachers: Give New Teachers the Gift of Prep Time

principalThe first year of teaching is difficult.  Every veteran teacher knows this.  Here is an idea for supporting new teachers: give the gift of prep time.

Well-intentioned school districts offer new teachers special sessions in classroom management, policy, etc.  These activities take up new teachers’ time after school.  What those teachers really need is TIME!

For new teachers, everything takes forever.  Prep, planning, grading—it’s relentless and exhausting.  No wonder new teachers regularly pull twelve-plus hour days.  Additionally new teachers are not familiar with the rhythm of the school year, so they don’t anticipate problems and events the way experienced teachers do.

There are many ways to donate time:

Donate your prep time.  Arrange to watch her class for about twenty-five minutes of your half hour special.  The teacher could grade a little, deal with email, call a parent—whatever will take some of the pressure off.

Invite her class to join yours.  Invite the teacher’s class to your room for story time.  An experienced teacher can read aloud to 60 kids (about) as well as 30, particularly if her heart is full because she knows she’s doing a good deed.  After the story ask the students to write a summary, illustrate the story, write a new ending—anything educational that will give the new teacher precious time.

Cover her extra duty.  Once in a while, cover the teacher’s additional duties: before or after school, at lunch, during recess, etc.  Those extra few minutes can make a huge difference to someone who’s treading water.

Help after school.  Wouldn’t we all have loved a veteran teacher (or two or three) to have a grading party?  Help plan?  Make copies?  Create organizational systems?  Many hands make light work.

Organize as a school.  Could your school’s staff arrange systemic help?  Maybe the staff would even be so generous as to exempt new teachers from extra duty for the first year, or at least reduce the burden.  It would be a warm welcome and a gift of time.

These tips are intended to support first-year teachers, but would also apply to teachers new to the district, school, or grade level.  These ideas are a good way to lend a hand to teachers with health problems or those who are facing a personal crisis.  Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to help–but alleviating stress and giving time can make a difference.


 

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