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Creating a dialogue about what it’s like to be a new teacher.

The Rookie Teacher

The End of the School Year 0

Posted on July 02, 2014 by Natasha

The end of the year is an odd time for me.  I think it’s because I can’t identify exactly how I feel…or that I have opposing feelings.  Half of me is excited about the summer (particularly this summer because I am headed to Europe for the first time) and the other half is sad to say goodbye to my kids and colleagues. I spend a lot of time working on community in my class and in the school at large – and for the next 2 months…routines go out the window and I am forced to experience change.

I also look forward to the summer as a time for rest and reflection.  It’s important for us to rest and rejuvenate after a school year.  We work hard and by June 30th we are pooped!  I usually schedule time with friends and family, camping and nature, and sleeping without an alarm clock.  I find that taking in those 5 things helps me get back on my feet.  Taking a good look at what worked and what didn’t and building up my energy for the next school year.

photo: NDunn

photo: NDunn

“The most distinctive of these very good teachers is that their practice is the result of careful reflection… They themselves learn lessons each time they teach, evaluating what they do and using these self-critical evaluations to adjust what they do next time.” (Why Colleges Succeed, Ofsted 2004, para.19)

Sample Reflection Questions (via Teacher Tip, Scholastic.com)

1. Was the instructional objective met? How do I know students learned what was intended?
2. Were the students productively engaged? How do I know?
3. Did I alter my instructional plan as I taught the lesson? Why?
4. What additional assistance, support, and/or resources would have further enhanced this lesson?
5. If I had the opportunity to teach the lesson again to the same group of students, would I do anything differently? What? Why?


I. Reflection Questions To Help You Get You Started:*  (via Syracuse University, ref link)

• Why do you teach the way you do?

• What should students expect of you as a teacher?

• What is a method of teaching you rely on frequently? Why don’t you use a different method?

• What do you want students to learn? How do you know your goals for students are being met?

• What should your students be able to know or do as a result of taking your class?

• How can your teaching facilitate student learning?

• How do you as a teacher create an engaging or enriching learning environment?

• What specific activities or exercises do you use to engage your students?

• What do you want your students to learn from these activities?

• How has your thinking about teaching changed over time? Why?

*These questions and exercises are meant to be tools to help you begin reflecting on your beliefs and ideas as a teacher. No single Teaching Statement can contain the answers to all or most of these inquiries and activities.

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Holistic Education 0

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Sarah

For July and August I am taking a highly recommended course in Holistic Curriculum with Jack Miller at OISE. Halfway through and I can already say it’s been a transformative experience. With every class starting in an unobstructed circle, our group of 24 eager graduate students share experiences and learn from each other. From kindergarten to young adult language teachers, middle eastern to South American natives, rookies to veterans, we’ve all been given the opportunity to discuss and collaborate in a safe, respectful environment. Finally you can feel what it’s like to be a part of a holistic classroom that values the people in the room and not just brains on sticks. As we begin our small group presentations I am excited to see the contributions from my peers and to share them.


“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

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Occasional Teacher Mini Series: Planning/Prep Coverage: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 7 7

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

Welcome to our Occasional Teacher Mini Series.  On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss Life as Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes.  It’s no secret that as rookies, most of us will begin our careers as a supply teacher, 0.## contracts, planning, rotary, long term occasional teacher, etc. Chances are that you will begin your permanent (or LTO) in a part-time contract with prep coverage, even .18, is better than nothing!  Listen in to hear Andrew share his experiences as a French Teacher, including: his classroom management strategies, the routines he built, and how he manages assessment and evaluation for ~200 students.


Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Life as a Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Magazine Boxes (for yourself, for students who require accommodation, and to keep your students organized). As a bonus, you can have students decorate them (according to The Arts: Visual Arts curriculum). There are many DIY magazine box projects on Pinterest.com.
  • NatashaPermanent 4-corner sheets (put them in page protectors with butterfly clips for easy transportability)
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
  • AndrewIndex Cards on a Ring (assessment/evaluation strategies, observation notes, handy to pass off to someone else). Option: colour code them!
  • Natasha: CDs (or websites) that come with resource/text books – USE THEM!  Often contain lesson plans, printables, assessment/evaluation strategies
Quick Shout Outs
  1. New Teacher Chat <#ntchat> on Wednesdays at 8:00pm EST on twitter > twebevent.com/ntchat [using this website saves you from having to add the hashtag to each post]
  2. Thank you to all the guest bloggers who have submitted an article to the site – we really appreciate your support and willingness to share your stories and experiences
photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss So, you’re the new one, eh?

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The AQ Race 9

Posted on December 11, 2011 by Natasha

A - alone on the wall  by Eva the Weaver, FlickrCC.nettypewriter key letter Q  by Leo Reynolds

Whether you are a teacher candidate, new to the profession or even a veteran teacher, you probably know, what I call, the “AQ race”. I remember when the push to take AQ (additional qualification) courses began early in my practicum experience.  If you spoke to a new teacher they would tell you that getting your Special Education Part 1 was the key to getting a job, while others began to push the ESL course as a way to market yourself, and still others would promote Reading Part 1.  It wasn’t until talking to a mentor of mine that I was able to step back from “the race” and consider what AQ courses meant to me.

Now, without a boring description of self discovery, I’d love to share my perspective with you in short.  AQ courses are a wonderful way that teachers can become life long learners!  These course offer us an introduction to some of the latest classroom strategies, and better yet a support community.  To rush through a course with the sole intent of using it as a marketing tactic on a resume or point of conversation in an interview simply diminishes the golden value that AQs have to offer.

I look forward to one day enrolling in an AQ course like Reading Part 1 or Technology in the Classroom, when I can take my new learning from one session and apply it the next day to my classroom.  With a community around me that shares in my learning, I’ll seek support, advice and of course share my stories of success and failure.

Coin Question Mark by Sandro PereiraSo, this leads me to asking… What do AQ courses mean to you?  What value do they offer?  Or maybe, you have questions about AQ courses (as I had in teacher’s college, and still have today) and wish to ask them now!

I look forward to hearing from you!

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How do you collaborate? Facebook Poll 1

Posted on December 08, 2011 by Natasha
Voting on Flickr by redjar

Voting: Flickr by redjar

We want to know how you are collaborating with other teachers and educators (Rookie or otherwise).

Swing by our Facebook Group and vote in our poll:

 I collaborate with other teachers…

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A Rookie Introduction: Our Newest Contributor…Michelle Horst 0

Posted on December 03, 2011 by Michelle

Hello — I am Michelle Horst, a new occasional teacher in Halton District School Board. I have always thought of teaching as a journey and am looking forward to joining together with fellow “rookie teachers” to celebrate and support others in the art of teaching. It is my utmost desire to inspire my students to learn and take action, while helping them to find independence and joy in their world and beyond! I strongly believe that “education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one” [Malcolm Forbes], and I hope you will join us as we strive together to improve as teachers! You can find me on Twitter @Michelle_Horst and on Facebook sharing teaching resources at Our Classroom! If you would like to learn more about me, please feel free to check out my blog www.ourclassroom.ca!

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Mini Series: Teaching Overseas (1a of 4) 1

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Natasha

Teaching Overseas is something that has crossed many Rookie minds.  The end of your B.Ed year is near, and you’re thinking about going global…You’re finding that the provincial job market feels rather saturated but you’re absolutely itching to start teaching…You enjoy teaching, you enjoy travelling, so why not do both!  It is our goal that, by telling Jenn’s story, some of your questions may be answered and that your excitement for teaching abroad be affirmed.

Without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce our newest (and furthest) Rookie, Jenn Graham.

Jennifer Graham

photo: Jennifer Graham

Hiya pals! I’m Jenn and I’m rocking my rookie year across the pond. I wouldn’t change this experience for anything… except maybe the odd double double! For the next 10 months, I’m a full time teacher in an inner city, single sex Catholic secondary school in East London. The gals know me as their science, math, and phys ed teacher. After graduating from Brock’s con-ed program with a BSc, I’m totally qualified… right?! Regardless, I’m learning everyday. From structuring peer assessment effectively to learning the latest pop n’ glide steps, I’m stoked to share my experiences and welcome your feedback. Cheerio!

Comment on the blog or follow her on twitter @JGrahamed.

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A Rookie Introduction: Our Newest Contributor…Marsha Pritchard 1

Posted on November 08, 2011 by Natasha


Marsha Pritchard

photo: M.Pritchard

Hi!  My name is Marsha Pritchard and I am indeed a rookie teacher!  Having just been hired by the Halton District School Board as an Occasional Teacher, I like to think of myself as fresh blood in the profession.  In my practice teaching, I had a wonderful mentor that taught me that teaching is not something that can be done in isolation. That being said, by contributing to TheRookieTeacher.ca, I hope for a rich collaborative dialogue that can continue to benefit us all!  My mantra: Your experiences will help define you. Find me on Twitter @MaPritch or post a comment to the blog.

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