Based on my personal experiences, and discussions with graduate colleagues, I think there are three major challenges facing most first year teachers in Western Australia.
1) Curriculum Development & Lesson Planning
2) Classroom Behaviour Managment
3) Assessment & Reporting
As graduates, our response to these challenges, and the avenues of support we access, frankly determines our survival in the teaching profession. It is no joke that many teachers leave within the first 5 years of teaching, and I now understand why.
Starting work as a relief teacher in February 2009, I entered the most intensely stressful period of my life. Yet, as I engaged in the PLI Graduate Teacher Modules, one of the last relief staff to be able to do so, I was reassured to know that I wasn't alone, and indeed, some teachers were going through much worse. For a much more realistic picture of first year teaching than my university ever painted, I highly recommend Ellen Moir's article on the Phases of First Year Teaching [pdf].
In the following series of posts, I will explore how I have dealt with my first year challenges as a very much part-time relief teacher. I hope they will provide some insights into what has been for me an incredible personal and professional transformation.
There is one important caveat; however, as my personal situation has literally allowed me to compress several years worth of professional learning and development into an 18 month period. It has been a wild ride, and if I had my time again, I wouldn't have moved at such a breakneck pace. Nevertheless, the results have been worthwhile, and I hope my fellow graduates and relief colleagues will learn something from my experiences. I'd love to hear your comments.
Well, here goes ...