Professional Challenges in the Life of a New Teacher
The new teacher faces countless professional challenges in the early years of a teaching career. Everything about the classroom is familiar, yet moving from the student’s to the teacher’s side of the desk makes everything strange. Three stories in this chapter shed light on the nature of these professional challenges and how beginning teachers respond to them. Clearly, their experiences are quite unlike those of more experienced teachers who have learned to cope with these challenges. Beginning teachers want to focus on the quality of their students’ learning, yet it is impossible for them to escape challenges such as learning the professional language of teaching, working with and learning from a mentor and supporting the particular new initiatives that all teachers in a school are expected to adopt. Research documents clearly indicate that new teachers experience a level of culture shock that is largely unexpected. Research also suggests that the professional challenges for the beginning teacher do not change over time and are dealt with in the familiar sequence of survival, adjusting to the teaching setting and finally focusing on student learning.
KeywordsProspective Teacher Experienced Teacher Department Head School Improvement Culture Shock
We thank Breanne Irwin, Aimee Doucette and Nathan Zehr for the stories they shared as contributions to this chapter.
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