September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

A Year in the Life of Two First Year Teachers: Part Five

Posted: Saturday, January 1st, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy, with Sara and Ellen

As the first semester was drawing to a close, I thought it would be interesting to ask Sara and Ellen what changes they would like to make for the coming semester and a little bit about how they felt they did.  As you can see from their responses, the crush of finishing before the winter break has not dampened their abilities to reflect on their first semesters of teaching.

Rick: Sara and Ellen, now that you have completed your first semester of teaching, what have you learned and what changes are you planning for the coming semester?

Sara: I feel that my first semester went fairly well.  I had to adjust to the two-hour classes every day, which was a bit of a struggle because sometimes I would plan things that moved much quicker or slower than expected.  I also found that it is much more difficult to keep students engaged because many of them mentally check out halfway through.  However, now that I feel like I have a handle on the timing, I think I need to tackle the issue of continuing engagement.  As a first-year teacher, I also had to get myself situated as far as deciding on different policies.  Some of the policies I made on first day of school have not held up, while others have emerged.  I think next semester will be a good time to strengthen those policies so that I have a solid set of policies next year.  Overall, I believe that second semester will allow me to focus more on my teaching rather than deal with all of the adjusting that I was forced to do this semester.

Ellen: Now that the first semester is complete, there are two main things that I will change.  First, I will spend less time covering introductory topics, such as review of mathematics skills and name-games, and start by diving right into chemistry content.  Rather than covering mathematics skills first, I will be implementing them throughout the chemistry curriculum where they apply in the standards.  The second change is I will be making sure my daily warm-up activities incorporate previous curriculum covered.  I have decided to make sure I review material more so that students are more comfortable bridging concepts throughout the entire curriculum.

(NOTE: Ellen teaches in on a 4×4 block schedule. She will be teaching an entire year of chemistry to a new group of students starting in mid-January—RP)

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis, and is CSTA’s president-elect.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

One Response

  1. Great to hear the stories of two first year teachers. Tough job and its great to see they are already learning so much

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CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Written by Jill Grace

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Written by Peter AHearn

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