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This week the PC Foundation has spent part of our time at the Putnam City New Teacher Academy. This is a set of trainings our district offers to provide those new to teaching and new to our district with tons of tools and tips to make their first year strong. We are so glad to be a part of this experience.

I always love being part of the New Teacher Academy. Though it is a whirlwind of activity that challenges even the most extraverted of extraverts, it is a lot of fun for me. I get to meet the new teachers, welcome them to our district, and pass out little gifts.

These new teachers are in turns overwhelmed, excited, and empowered, depending on the moment. I can hear laughter and conversation periodically as the trainers give teachers the opportunity to practice procedures and pedagogical techniques.

Being a new teacher is exhilarating, but it is certainly stressful. You need to create a plan for your procedures, set up your classroom, assign seats, get at least a few days’ lesson plans in place, take a couple of federally-mandated trainings, attend a few building meetings and more, all before the first day of school. That’s when you actually get to do what you came to do.

Then it’s just you and the kids -- and they will stare at you with expectant eyes, wondering what kind of teacher you will be, even though you yourself may not know the answer.

If you’re a parent whose child is in a first year teacher’s classroom, please offer them some grace. They have a ton of new expectations on them, and are trying to determine which things are most important, and they might get that wrong.

If you are a first year teacher yourself, make sure you give yourself some grace. You will make mistakes, and leave things undone. Just do your best for the children every day, and the rest will fall into place soon enough.

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