Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 1/1.4.2

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Learning Targets[edit]

Readers should understand the challenges that new teachers face and know how to get past them.


Every year students enter the teaching profession with a picture in their heads of a perfect classroom filled with perfect, well-behaved students. Many new teachers don't realize the difficulty that their new career comes with. Students are taught the essentials of teaching, but many don't know what they will face when they start in their new classrooms. Some people have argued that teachers aren't being prepared for things like inclusion students, social issues, or many other issues that they may face.


Nationally, twenty-two percent of teachers leave the profession during their first three years. One major reason for this is that they just weren't prepared for the obstacles ahead of them. Fifty-four percent of people who expressed interest in going into the teaching profession said that they would be more interested if they knew their students would be "well behaved and eager to learn." It would be nice if you could just request certain qualities in a class and have your wishes granted. Children are unique, each one is going to have a different personality with different learning capabilities. Even if a class is absolutely perfect one year, a whole new batch comes in the next year (Depaul).

These are children, not little robots that need to be taught, they face many problems that effect their learning. Some children may have learning disorders, problems at home, or just be hyperactive children. Many classrooms also have inclusion students who require special attention. Universities teach students how to be teachers, however, some things cannot be taught. New teachers face many obstacles in their first few years that they may not have been introduced to in their training. The truth is, each individual teacher will face circumstances that you can't just be taught to deal with in a university. Could universities prepare their students for obstacles such as these?

"'I don't feel that my university could have better prepared me for the classroom. I learned many methods and theories of teaching, but have found that true teaching knowledge comes from experience. I am certain that I will continue to learn as long as I'm in the teaching profession. As we know, each day is filled with new opportunities.'—Melissa G. Lambert, 2nd grade, Oklahoma."

"'No amount of lectures, books or student teaching could have prepared me for the enormity of teaching. However, the more experiences with children a program provides, the better. I think my college program could have placed more emphasis on children and the absolute necessity of commitment to them. Subject matter and instructional methods are very important to quality teaching, but without a strong commitment to children success is unlikely.'—Mark White, 5th grade, Nebraska"(What to Expect, 1998).

Always be Prepared[edit]

How can new teachers survive their first few years? Schooling will teach you how to teach, but how can you be a good teacher? One way to stay afloat is to develop a support system. New teachers should get to know co-workers and get advice from veteran teachers. Veteran teachers know how to manage a classroom and they can help immensely. Another way to make sure you're prepared is to spend as much time in classrooms or around children as possible. Substitute teaching and working in daycare centers are just a couple of examples of ways to get acquainted with the teaching field. New teachers should try to be as prepared as possible, to avoid being surprised. However, surprises are pretty much inevitable when dealing with children (Depaul). It will take a while for any new teacher to get the hang of this career, it will take at least two years to master classroom management and six to seven years to be a proficient teacher. This isn't something learned overnight, it requires experience (Wallace, 2008).


Depaul, Amy. "Survival Guide For New Teachers." U.S. Department of Education. 10 Feb. 2009.

Wallace, Claudia. "How to Make Great Teachers." 13 Feb. 2008. Time. 10 Feb. 2009.

"What to Expect Your First Year of Teaching." Sept. 1998. U.S. Department of Education. 10 Feb. 2009.