I am a coach. My role is to support teachers in their profession. I provide advice, expertise, and a shoulder to cry on. My path to the classroom began over a decade ago. I did not have a credential or a clue what it was like to be a teacher. All I had was a wish to change lives and make a difference. I did not enter the classroom with a mentor, curriculum guide or training. I brought my yoga mat, bean bag, hot lamp and soon the real training began. I learned the most about this profession from the mistakes I made and the struggles I encountered. Every time I hit a "road block" it was an opportunity for me to learn something new.
The path to the classroom has changed tremendously since NCLB. Most teachers have gone through a credentialing program, possibly a masters' degree, and student teaching. The cost as well as time committment is certainly a serious undertaking. Here in California, new teachers enter the classroom with a pacing guide, structured curriculum and mentor. There is training, professional development, and new teacher support groups. Although new teachers are given much more "support", they are also under much more pressure and higher expectations. The expected learning curve is only a few months no longer a year or two. Here in California, a principal can decide if they will rehire a non-tenured teacher for the upcoming school year.
As a teacher you are also a student, you are always learning and growing with the students you teach. Our profession should be built upon a premise that we are a community of learners and together we can achieve. We need to reach out and support our newest members of this profession. Not only are they learning how to plan a lesson, mentor a student, reteach a standard, and foster a love of learning, but also be a teacher.