Three Ways to Support & Strengthen First Year Teachers

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As we think about support for first year teachers, let’s think back to our own first year in the profession. For me, the feeling of overwhelm encompasses my season of teaching for the first time. There were so many ups and downs! 

Sarah Besand, a teacher and Possip Reporter, shares three ways to foster and encourage first year teachers.

I remember working in my classroom hours after school and still feeling disorganized when it came to my daily to-do list. I remember helping my students through hard emotions and carrying this home with me. Feeling so depleted, but also extremely proud of the work I was doing. Even as I recall it now, I feel compassion for this young teacher with so much to learn.

If you’re anything like me, I bet your experience was similar. Even with the best of support systems, this profession comes with a huge learning curve. Statistically, so many new teachers will find employment outside the teaching profession within their first 5 years. To meet this challenge, we must not only support our new teachers, but strengthen them as well. Here’s our ideas on how to strengthen new teachers at your school.

Design or Implement a Mentor Program

To continue to strengthen our teachers, a mentor program can be extremely helpful. Mentor programs can vary depending on school needs, but the important part to remember is leading these programs with compassion and empathy as a core tenant.

To do this, think about ways you can design a space that elevates new teachers’ experiences while also allowing mentor teachers to share ideas for them. In my own mentorship program, I remember learning so much from the curated advice my mentor imparted on me. Through this balance of empathy and wisdom, new teachers can find strength by realizing they are not alone. Every teacher has experienced being new in their career, and have tricks of the trade to show for their time invested. 

A monthly cadence typically works well for this. Try setting aside a part of your faculty meeting to allow your mentors and mentees to learn from each other!