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Prepared to learn on the job

By Kristie Kellahan

First-day jitters aren't just for students, as new teachers discover, writes Kristie Kellahan.

As the first school bells of 2013 ring out across Australia, a generation of fresh-faced teachers will start their rookie year as head of the classroom.

Among them will be Anthony Griffen, a year 6 teacher at Bradbury Public School.

He says he is nervous and excited about finally putting into action his reason for becoming a teacher.

"I'm motivated by the opportunity to shape my students in becoming moral and independent citizens," Griffen says. "It's having a position to influence the future generations of our society."

Griffen says he'll draw on his experiences as a school learning support officer over the past six years to create "an ideal learning environment".

"I have been exposed to a variety of classroom settings, which I will draw on to create my very own learning space," he says.

Any unruly behaviour will be met by Griffen's dedication to "equality, fairness, consistency and firmness". He says quality learning activities that aim to engage all students in their learning is the recipe for success when it comes to managing the classroom environment.

Griffen plans to ask lots of questions and stay dedicated to his own active learning and self-improvement as a teacher.

"We all have an opinion, what we believe to be true, and it is a basic human right, although it can have the potential to limit us in what we do or achieve in life," he says.

"If we lean too strongly on our own beliefs or understanding, it makes it extremely hard to progress and achieve great things within our professions.

"If we ourselves are not active learners, and our students see this, it's hard for us to expect our students - especially the disengaged ones - to be active learners."

Saskia Beeten will be taking up her first permanent teaching role this year at Robert Townson High School in Raby. As a member of the human society and its environment faculty, she will be teaching years 7 to 11 in geography, history and business studies.

"In the first year, I'm excited to be starting a new chapter of my life," Beeten says. "I'm looking forward to finally putting all my learning into practice and to be able to establish my own style of teaching.

"Through the help of my fellow staff members, I'm looking forward to networking, creating a base of resources, and forming a good professional relationship with both staff and students."

Beeten says she is feeling first-term jitters about "fitting in" within the new school community. "The best advice I have been given since accepting this new position is that no one expects me to be perfect," she says.

"It is expected that I will make mistakes, and that my first year of teaching is a survival year. Asking for help will be expected, and asking questions will only improve my teaching in the future."


Published: 26 January 2013

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