I remember back in 2004, I was completing my student teaching experience at Kaneland High School, and I COULD NOT WAIT to have my own classroom. Student teaching was such a great experience, but there is something to it being yours that made moving on so much more exciting. You have the greatest supplies, all of your plans are ready, and the first few months go by in a blur!!  My first teaching job was at Larkin High School in U-46. I was so happy to be teaching close to home and with such a great group of educators in the Math department. As many veteran teachers might be thinking, I did not know what I didn’t know. Even the best of teacher preparation programs cannot prepare you for what it is like to be a teacher and have your own classroom. Early career educators do have a certain superpower that cannot be denied. Enthusiasm, flexibility, and excitement are abundant and can rejuvenate others that they work with! Early career teachers are amazing!

Early career educators have been the subject of several research studies, but one notable study was from Ellen Moir.  She identified that new teachers go through five phases of the year. These are anticipation, survival, disillusionment, rejuvenation, and reflection. Don’t let those words scare you off! I think this cycle applies to EVERY teacher over the course of a school year.

I have always thought that knowledge is power, so having this information is crucial to planning for success. Being an early career educator is a journey. If new teachers are intentional with their focus, they can make these early teaching years a great experience for all. The article “No One Starts Out Awesome: Advice for New Teachers” by Jason DeHart is a quick read that provides practical advice to think about when preparing for the first years. He gives four critical parts to move to rejuvenation and reflection.

*Seek positive voices
*Keep refining your practices
*Maintain your flexibility
*Position story as central to your teaching

Thinking back on my time as an early career educator, I wish that I would have had this advice to help me stay out of the disillusionment dip and move more quickly to rejuvenation and reflection. A key piece of advice that I firmly believe in is to keep refining your practices. Every group of students that enter the classroom are different and teachers can help them to be successful by thoughtfully refining what they do to meet their needs.

In addition, I would like to recommend checking out our Branching Out series. These videos provide quick bits of information that can be implemented in the classroom right away!  Having a wide range of strategies in your teacher toolbox can help you move through survival and disillusionment quickly while meeting the needs of your students. The new season will begin in September. Subscribe here!

Now for some really exciting news!

I am so excited to announce that here at the Kane Regional Office of Education, we have been thinking about early career educators and how we can contribute to their success!  We are doing an INSPIRE box just for THEM! Our Early Career Educator edition is quarterly, with boxes in September, November, February, and April. The coolest thing is that they will be getting resources, strategies, and gifts that are directly aligned to their needs regarding the early years of being an educator. They will learn how to move through survival and disillusionment with ease and make it to rejuvenation and reflection.  We want to be a partner in their journey.

If this sounds interesting to you and you would like to learn more, check out the information below. Here are the links to register. 

Quarterly Subscription |  One-Month Subscription

I am so excited to go on this adventure with early career educators! Do you know someone who would benefit from the Early Career Educator INSPIRE?  Do you want more information?  Please reach out by tagging us @KaneCountyROE or contacting me at rszalkowski@kaneroe.org.

Raven Szalkowski – Professional Learning Coordinator
(t):  630-762-2056
(e): rszalkowski@kaneroe.org

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