What do new teachers need to keep them going that difficult first year? In our first session with new teachers in October, our room was filled with the stories of their first few weeks of teaching, anecdotes about students, new software they had to learn, support from administrators, lack of supplies as well as abundance of new materials. We heard tales of celebration as well as stories that keep teachers awake at night.
In our November new teacher meeting, we framed the following "Opinion Exchange" around the theme of staying committed to what we believe in. We created a list of quotes from a range of educators, as well as a list of questions to form a kind of "scavenger hunt" of response to these quotes. Participants read the quotes, and then moved through the room talking about reactions to the quotes and gathering different opinions.
Click here for the handout with the quotes and "Opinion Exchange" questions. We found this format for discussions fostered thoughtful and deep conversations that led to a rich whole-group debriefing. Participants reported leaving our meeting with renewed commitment, as well as realistic plans for continued support.