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Education World Introduces First-Year Teacher Diaries

Curriculum CenterToday, Education World introduces the first in a yearlong series of articles. Two brand-new teachers will chronicle their first professional experiences, both in and out of the classroom. Their exclusive insights are sure to benefit us all!

Are you a first-year teacher struggling with unexpected challenges posed by elusive students, anxious parents, unfamiliar curricula, and endless reams of confusing paperwork?

Are you a mentor teacher eager to support, nurture, and teach a fledgling educator entrusted to your care?

Are you a veteran teacher who still clearly recalls -- and occasionally shudders at -- the mistakes and missteps of your own first year?

Are you an administrator anxious to ensure the success -- and longevity -- of your newly minted staff?

Are you a student teacher who can't decide whether to anticipate or dread your first classroom experience?

Have we got a story for you!




If you have comments, questions, advice, or moral support for Shaundalyn or Rich, or if you'd simply like to share experiences from your own first year, visit the Education World message board.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one in five new teachers leaves the profession within the first three years. New Teachers: Getting Them And Keeping Them, an article in Gazette, offers even grimmer statistics, claiming that 30 percent will leave teaching during the first two years and that 40 to 50 percent will leave during the first seven years. Some additional research suggests that the attrition rate for teachers in city schools is even higher; nearly 50 percent of new teachers in urban districts leave teaching during the first three years.

Why do they leave? More important, why do they stay? What combination of personal qualities and professional experiences makes the difference? Beginning today, Education World will explore those questions as we follow two teachers, who have different backgrounds and personalities work in very different situations, through that all-important first year. Each week, from September through June, two young educators will share their hopes and fears, their triumphs and disasters in The First 180 Days: First-Year Teacher Diaries, a first-hand look at the realities of the teaching profession.

Who are these brave new teachers who are willing to share a year of their lives with us?

Shaundalyn Elliott, a recent college graduate, always dreamed of being a corporate lawyer. Her deep feelings of responsibility to the minority students in her hometown led her instead to a teaching position at her alma mater, an urban middle school in Montgomery, Alabama.

Rich Henderson, a lawyer, always dreamed of being a teacher. Last year, he gave up his law career and returned to the classroom to earn his teaching certification. This year, his dream will finally come true in a fifth-grade classroom in a suburban Connecticut school.

Today, Shaundalyn and Rich introduce themselves to you. Click on their names below to read their brief biographies.

Shaundalyn Elliott

Rich Henderson



For a complete listing of online resources for new teachers, be sure to see the Education World story Back-to-School Guide for Beginning Teachers (and Not-So-New Teachers Too)!

Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World




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