Newswise — MANHATTAN, Kansas — Parents shouldn't worry about having a first-year teacher in their child's classroom, according to a Kansas State University education professor.
"Being a first-time teacher is an exciting and amazing experience that gets easier with time," said Lori Goodson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the university's College of Education.
"Teachers in their first year often are just as nervous as their students," Goodson said. "Teaching is like learning how to drive a car — it may look simple, but there are so many components that need to be mastered to be effective."
The day-to-day experience of teaching and classroom management will help a first-time teacher grow rapidly on the job, she said.
For parents worried about a teacher's lack of experience, Goodson said communication is key.
"Be able to communicate with the teacher. Communication will eliminate many of the concerns or problems between teachers and parents," she said.
She also recommends parents and the teacher be available when one of them wants to connect or interact. And she says parents should be open to new and creative ideas for learning and understanding.
Support is important for new teachers. In any learning atmosphere, mentoring makes a difference — whether for a teacher or student, Goodson said.
The Kansas State Department of Education requires that each initially licensed teacher, school specialist or school leader complete a yearlong, district-administered induction and mentoring program as a prerequisite to receiving a professional license.
"This means all of our graduates teaching in Kansas schools will receive formal, structured mentoring through their first year,” Goodson said. "School districts across the country also believe in providing training for first-year teachers. Many conduct monthly meetings to give first-time faculty the opportunity to ask questions and to provide ideas and support."
One way Kansas State University's curriculum and instruction department will provide its new teaching graduates with support this year is through a new newsletter, Before the Bell: Supporting New Educators.
"This newsletter is designed to give specific and practical tips to help teachers navigate their first year of teaching," Goodson said.
Some topics that will be covered in the newsletter include preparing for parent teacher conferences, setting up classrooms, rules for grading and timely issues that correspond to the school year. The first issue will be sent via email in August.