Beginning Teachers

September 13, 2011

The ATA Library: Your Information Source

Sandra Anderson, ATA Librarian

Welcome to the teaching profession and your ATA Library! We have many resources to assist you as you navigate through your new career.

Need materials?

We have a great collection of books, journals, web resources and videos. We cover subjects for your professional growth: conflict management, cyberbullying, educational technologies, special needs education, classroom management, professional growth plans, brain-based learning, differentiated instruction, assessment, response to intervention, literacy, strategies for teaching different subjects and grades, and much more. We carry materials in French and English, and are happy to offer you all services in these two languages. We mail or courier materials to you at no charge and pay return shipping costs.

Find us online

Our library catalogue is available online—visit the ATA website at www.teachers.ab.ca and click on For Members and choose Programs and Services, and then select the ATA Library. You can search for materials and reserve them online. We’ll ship them out to you within two business days.

If you sign into the website using your TNET account, you’ll have access to two databases full of articles for your professional development. Just scroll down the library page to Journal ­Articles.

You’ll also find a collection of websites under our Web Resources links. Don’t overlook this list of library-checked resources that will keep you informed about the newest trends in the profession (and save you time!).

Need help?

If you need help using our online systems or just need someone to find information quickly, give us a call at 1-800-232-7208 or drop us an e-mail at library@ata.ab.ca. We’re available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the school year, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the summer (except for statutory holidays).

Featured here are just some of the many library resources of interest to new and experienced teachers.

  • The Well-Balanced Teacher: How to Work Smarter and Stay Sane Inside the Classroom and Out by Mike Anderson. ASCD, c2010. Call number: 371.1 A548
  • Burned In: Fueling the Fire to Teach by Audrey A. Friedman and Luke Reynolds (editors). Teachers College Press, 2011. Call number: 371.10019 B963 2011
  • Becoming a Win-Win Teacher: Survival Strategies for the Beginning Educator by Jane Bluestein. Corwin Press, 2010. Call number: 371.10209 B658
  • The New Teacher Toolbox: Proven Tips and Strategies for a Great First Year by Scott M. Mandel. Corwin Press, 2009. Call number: 371.10209 M271
  • Classroom Behaviour: A Practical Guide to Effective Teaching, Behaviour Management and Colleague Support by Bill Rogers. Sage Publications, 2011. Call number: 371.1024 R724 2011
  • Feeling Great: The Educator’s Guide for Eating Better, Exercising Smarter, and Feeling Your Best by Todd Whitaker. Eye on Education, 2002. Call number: 613 W578

Ten tips for beginning teachers

Françoise Ruban, ATA Executive Staff Officer, Professional Development

It can be tough being a beginning teacher. Featured here are 10 tips to help ease the load.

  1. Find an informal mentor if your school or district does not have a formal mentoring program. Don’t wait until you feel isolated.
  2. Manage your classroom. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you need advice, ask a colleague.
  3. Ask a colleague and usually you shall receive, providing your request is reasonable.
  4. Stay healthy. Never take your health for granted. Take a break for yourself every day, even if it’s a short one. Your students need a healthy teacher.
  5. Do not reinvent the wheel when it comes to planning. Many teachers have gone before you and are willing to share their knowledge. Find out from your mentor where to find the information you require.
  6. Ask your colleagues about reporting procedures, preparing for parent–teacher interviews and communicating with parents. Remember, there are no silly questions, especially when it comes to parent–teacher interviews.
  7. Do not take your mentor for granted. Remember, he or she probably has a full-time teaching load as well. Be respectful of his or her time and try to contribute in kind whenever you can.
  8. Act with integrity. Remain professional in your words, actions and dress—even if others may not.
  9. Meet with your peers. You are not alone.
  10. Communicate your thanks and apologize when necessary. These actions will go a long way with your colleagues, students and others in the school community.

Be professional

You have worked hard to become a teacher by obtaining a university education and professional training. You make important decisions that affect your students and their families, and you strive to do the best for your students, your colleagues and your school. It is because of these reasons that you can rightly call yourself a professional. It is still important, however, to ensure that others see you for the professional that you are. Following are tips on how to present yourself in a professional manner.

  • Dress like a professional—Your students, their parents and your colleagues will view and treat you differently if you dress professionally (don’t wear jeans and T-shirts). It is important to dress differently than your students, particularly if you look young.
  • Keep lunchtime to yourself—Put time aside at lunch for your needs. This routine gives you something to look forward to during the morning and brings you back rested and ready to work in the afternoon.
  • Keep abreast of new developments—Attend PD workshops, conferences and teachers’ conventions, take courses or join organizations, such as specialist councils, to keep you involved with and knowledgeable of emerging trends.
  • Present workshops—Making public presentations keeps you up to date, enables you to come up with new insights and keeps you connected to teachers and researchers in your field.
  • Team up with another teacher—Find a colleague who teaches the same subject or grade. By teaming up, you can share new ideas and cut your workload.
  • Command the respect you deserve—When speaking publicly, speak clearly and loudly. Drop weak phrases such as “maybe” and “I guess.” Don’t phrase your statements in the form of questions by raising your intonation at the end of your sentence. Stop fidgeting. Look people in the eye when you are speaking to them.

Remember, you are a professional. If you don’t view yourself that way and act accordingly, how can you expect others to?