This website contains information for beginning teachers based on interviews with the 53 winners of the 1997 Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Awards. The information included in this site is basically a booklet which has been uploaded to the Web to help beginning teachers be successful in their new careers. Reflections about their working relationships with veteran teachers, principals, parents, and college/university faculty are crafted into a booklet of information, advice, and tips for fellow first-year teachers.
Type of Material:
First-year teachers or student/intern teachers could read and discuss the content of this booklet during or prior to a workshop or seminar where the goal was to offer support for novices in the classroom. Also, parts of this booklet could be used throughout the year as a starting point for discussions.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
The major learning goal of this site is to provide information to beginning teachers that will help make their first year of teaching a smooth transition from student teacher to teacher, and to provide suggestions that will help first-year teachers take advantage of the resources around them so that they will feel supported and remain in the classroom.
Target Student Population:
First-year teachers are the target audience, but this information is also useful for student teachers or interns and for master or mentors or cooperating teachers.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
These web pages contain practical information, tips, and advice for novice teachers about how to build relationships and work with veteran teachers, principals, parents, and college/university education professors. The goal is to make use of the expertise, experience, and support these people can offer to help new teachers stay in the classroom during the induction period. It relates motivational (positive) information, as well as less than memorable (negative) situations. The fact that this advice comes form winners of the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Awards in 1997 makes it that much more credible for the intended audience. Many quotes in the form of stories and personal experiences make the content real for beginning teachers. A bulleted summary of tips is found at the bottom of each page. Also, a list of web resources of teachers on a page called Help Desk: Resources for First-Year Teachers is a nice addition. Finally, the entire document appears to be free of educational jargon and specific acronyms, so the content is easily understandable for teachers from across multiple school districts and states.
While the content of this booklet is practical, heartfelt, and authentic, there are many other issues related to supporting novice teachers that this booklet does not include. For example, information that focuses on the main concerns of beginning teachers would be as valuable. According to Veenman (1986) these concerns are classroom management, student motivation, and meeting the needs of individual students. It seems as if this site should also be appropriate for use by student teachers, master teachers, mentor teachers,
etc. The information could be disseminated in teacher in-services or other gathering places of new and pre-service teachers.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site was not designed as a teaching tool; rather, it is framed as an advice booklet for those already employed in the teaching profession. With additional enhancements, it could play many useful roles in the teacher education process (e.g., seminar discussion-starter). For example, while just reading and thinking about this information may help many novice teachers, it would be even more valuable for them to discuss the content of this book together in a seminar or workshop designed to support them. To make it even more personally valuable, it would be useful if each novice teacher could respond verbally or in writing to the original questions asked of the Sallie Mae Award Winners who are the main source of the material in this book: What kinds of support should principals and other administrators provide to beginning teachers to ensure quality teaching? What kinds of support should teacher educators provide to beginning teachers to ensure quality teaching? What kinds of support should veteran teachers provide to beginning teachers to ensure quality teaching? What kinds of support should parents and the community provide to beginning teachers to ensure quality teaching?
The biggest concern is that many first-year teachers are overwhelmed with things they must do, and little time is available for additional reading, so they may not have the time to read or think about and apply this information. Therefore, it might be more useful to discuss with student teachers or interns, or to use before the school-year begins, or even much later in the first year when things have settled down for most first-year teachers.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Being able to the download the pdf version is particularly useful as most teachers would probably have time to read the printed version elsewhere rather than online. Navigation is easy due to the icons at the bottom of each page that allows the user to go back or forward or up to the table of contents page. Readers can move around in the text with ease and choose what they want to read because the table of contents is hyperlinked to different sections about getting support from veteran teachers, principals, parents, and college/university education professors. The pages are easy to read online because there is lots of white space and headings throughout that break up the text into meaningful subtopics.
The author is recommended to update and enhance the contents to be used by a wider audience, such as student teachers, master teachers, etc. Linking from the text in this website to additional teacher resources and/or a discussion board for beginning teachers moderated by mentor teachers would also enhance the value of this website for beginning teachers.
Other Issues and Comments:
We recommend that the authors enhance the contents to be used by a wider audience, such as student teachers, master teachers, etc.
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