Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

Beginning teacher reflects on successful first year

The following article is from the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NTSP) May 2018 Newsletter. The NC NTSP provides support for beginning teachers during their first three years of teaching. The key features of the program include: instructional skills institute, professional development, and instructional coaching.

I have had the pleasure of supporting Mrs. Angela Krol, a first-grade teacher at Troy Elementary in Montgomery County Public Schools. Mrs. Krol works hard to establish positive relationships with her students and community and it is evidenced through her student growth. She has embraced analyzing and utilizing data to drive her instruction. I had Mrs. Krol reflect on her first year through a few interview questions:

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment this year has been overall student growth.  They have not only grown academically per test scores but have grown in their personal beliefs in themselves.  I no longer hear “I can’t do that, or I am not good at that.” I am proud to have taught them to never say, “I can’t,” but, instead say, “I am going to try.”  My class mantra has been since day one: “It’s okay to not know but it is NEVER okay to not try!

What has been most challenging? 

The most challenging thing for me this year has been learning all of the acronyms related to teaching, time management, and understanding progress monitoring/testing. (This became much easier the second half of the year thanks to my Instructional Facilitator/Mentor at school and my NTSP Coach).

If you could do you first year over again, what would you do differently?

If I could do this first year over again I would have started reading homework nightly on day one because this has been instrumental in my students reading fluency and comprehension success.

How did the partnership with your NTSP Coach impact your first year as a teacher? 

The support my NTSP Coach Marquis has provided me this year has been invaluable to my success. His weekly visits and PD sessions have provided me with many of the tools and understanding needed to be an effective teacher.  Since I am a lateral entry teacher, I have had to register and take classes at the University level and Marquis has helped me connect with the person(s) at UNCC to assist me in class advising and course approvals etc. This was so helpful to me because using the phone during a school day is nearly impossible I can just mention something to Marquis and later that day I have an email with the information I was interested in. Having an (unbiased) Coach that I can bounce ideas off of and ask questions or just vent to that is not a staff member has been a vital part of my first-year success.

What advice would you give a first-year teacher? 

My advice for any teacher, first year or veteran, would be to always have high expectations for ALL of your students and yourself. I wholeheartedly believe that students LEARN their limitations and until someone they respect in their lives tells them they cannot do something they will believe they can do almost anything! Believe in yourself and your students will believe in you and together you all will achieve personal and academic success!  Surround yourself with teachers and mentors/coaches that are positive people.

Mrs. Krol is a prime example of “hitting the ground running.”  She is always open to feedback to facilitate her growth as a teacher. Always eager to share her student achievements, it has been a joy to visit with her and students each week.

For more information about the NC NTSP, click here.

Marquis Mason

Marquis Mason is an instructional coach with the NC New Teacher Support Program. In this role, he partners with district stakeholders to design and facilitate professional development that aligns to teacher needs. In addition, Mason supports a caseload of teachers through a coaching cycle of observation/feedback, co-planning, modeling, and reflection. Mason has over 10 years of experience in teaching and started his educational career as a science teacher. He  is currently a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction, urban education program at UNC-Charlotte. His research interests are Black teacher recruitment, retention and STEM education.