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The new teacher in a group a veteran teachers

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Gisselle Medal Gisselle Medal 3175 Points

Hello, I am about to graduate and become a new teacher.  I've seen some activities and lesson I want to do when I become a teacher, but what do I do if the whole grade level decides to do an activity I don't like or doesn't take my activity/lesson recommendation.  Also, it is a good idea to use previous year lesson plans that are just forward to me and just needs to be tweaked  or is it better to write brand new lesson plans each year?

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Most elementary teachers at the same grade level teach differently from each other so doing your own thing should not be a problem. Using the same lessons is perfectly alright. You would go crazy trying to find new ones every year. You will find new ones to add each year so add and change gradually.

Harry Mazurek Harry Mazurek 70 Points

Giselle Get your hands on as much teaching materials as possible and hold on to them. I make databases of mine for topic keyword searches and use. You want to avoid doing lesson plans every year as much as possible. You're going to have plenty of other paperwork to do.

Isabella Hoang Isabella Hoang 30 Points

Hi Giselle! Congratulations on becoming a new teacher. I know it can be daunting to begin teaching for the first time. If your whole grade level decides to do an activity that you don’t particularly like, I do not think you should worry too much. I think as a new teacher, you should focus on seeing what works for you and trying to establish yourself. It may be useful to at least try out what the other teachers are trying in your grade level. See if they work for you, and remember it’s not set in stone. You are able to personalize the lesson to your liking and comfortability. It’s important to see what lessons work well for you. Every teacher is different in their style and it’s important to give yourself enough time to develop that.  As for using old lesson plans versus writing new ones, I think it’s good to have a mixture of both. Perhaps for the first few weeks, using the old lesson plans may be better just to get a feel of the material and style of the lessons. If you have issues, remember to mark them down and tweak the lessons to your liking. As you get more settled in the school year, I think you should try to write some new lesson plans because it helps develop your conception of yourself as teacher. Writing your own lesson plan can be very eye-opening. You can get feedback from your lesson plans from teachers who choose to use it as well. Good luck!

Quyen Han Quyen Han 9875 Points

Welcome to the profession of teaching!  I would recommend taking what someone else has done and tweak it as you go to fit your teaching style and personality. Each year you can add something new you created.  Good luck!

Erica Urbina Erica Urbina 210 Points

Hi Gisselle, I think you should still bring new ideas to your team. Go about it easy and just bring your ideas foward so you can get them heard and you might be suprised that they want to use them. It's always a breath of fresh air having someone new since it can benefit the whole grade level. If the lesson plan works, I wouldnt change it but just tweak it a bit and make it more current. 

Brittany Morin Brittany Morin 180 Points

I am in the same position as you were in. I sometimes worry about having my activities overlooked, or having to do activities/lessons that the whole grade is doing, even if I do not think it would benefit my classroom. About the lesson plans, it sometimes is easier to have a guide/reference with the previous year's lesson plans, but it may be up to you (depending on the campus you are at) to change them or completely start from new. I hope your first year of teaching goes or has already gone great! 

Jennifer Toy Jennifer Toy 735 Points

Hi Gisselle, I am a new teacher and I am coming from the total opposite story of you. I have no other science teachers at my site and so unfortunately I had to spend so so many hours making new lesson plans, activites, etc. It was so difficult because I felt like I was just getting by. Maybe only a few activities were actually fun, some were a total flop, and sometimes I would not teach the content well enough for all students to understand. I would definitely take whatever veteran teachers give you because a lot of times they have already tweaked it enough throughout the many years that they have taught it. However, that does not mean you cannot tweak the lessons especially if you feel the lessons do not fit the standards anymore. Starting from scratch is tough so I recommend you start with what they give you and make it your own! 

Katherine Chambers Katherine Chambers 2355 Points

Hello, I am also about to graduate and become a new teacher. Based on what I have learned and seen working as a substitute for two years, I think that it's okay if other teachers do not take your ideas. More than likely, they won't. Teachers with years of experience sometimes don't want to take recommendations from new teachers, even if the idea is good. If that happens, you should try your idea out and if it is successful, then show results to other teachers. If it is not successful, then you will learn something that you can use to make modifications. Remember, everyday should be a learning experience. Also, do not be afraid to try some of their ideas as well. Though you may not want to do it, they may have had many successes from doing activities they are recommending for you to do. You won't know until you try. I've also seen many people using old lesson plans from previous years and not changing anything, as well as tweaking it a little bit to fit the needs of your new students. A lot of trial and error will take place during your first year, but don't be afraid to try new things! Good luck!

Harley Kitching Harley Kitching 617 Points

Hi Katherine! I completely agree with trying different things and not being afraid to branch out and do something you never thought of before. Sometimes taking risks can result in huge rewards for our students and teach us something about how to provide for our students needs in our classrooms. Using your own results as proof of an effective activity can be very powerful as well. I also think that taking advantage of any resource you are given has a huge impact on our first year as well. Having a catalog of old lesson plans or powerpoint presentation can give you a strong starting point for where you could take the content while putting your own twist on it.

Gabe Kraljevic Gabe Kraljevic 4564 Points

Hello Giselle! Lots of good responses here. I concur with all of what was said. The absolute biggest thing, in my opinion, is to reflect on EVERYTHING you do! This means a real willingness to learn and change to make things work how you want in YOUR classroom. I would tell all my student teachers and new teacher colleagues that they do not need to create everything from scratch! There are a lot of bright and intelligent people out there producing great resources. Why re-invent the wheel? They should make decisions about resources in this order: 1) If you find or are given a resource that fits perfectly to what YOU want to accomplish in YOUR classroom, then use it unmodified - only AFTER reviewing the resource thoroughly. 2) If you find a great resource but it doesn't quite fit, then modify it. 3) If you can't find a great resource - then make one up. If you think about, most of your lessons will revolve around modifying something out there. After your lesson reflect and re-evaluate everything that was used and how it was executed. Make modifications as necessary. Don't beat yourself up if a lesson bombs...just figure out why it did and do something about it. I concluded that if every lesson I ran went perfectly well, then all my students would be getting 100%. That never happened so I kept trying to get it perfect right until my retirement! Hope this helps, Gabe

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Great advice, Gabe. I totally agree. If we make a mistake when we are teaching a concept that is new to us, it is a teachable moment! Ask students to give input on what went wrong. Ask how they think they can change some variables to have the experiment work correctly? Most scientists do hundreds of trials before getting the results they hoped for. We don't have that same luxury of time and materials in school but there are times we can go back and have a do-over. 

Marlen Martinez Marlen Martinez 190 Points

This is some great advice. I like how you mentiones, that we don't to build everything from scratch. It is okay to tweak things now and then. Will definitely be using this advice for when I become a teacher myself. 

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hello fellow science teacher,
I am replying you behalf of Funsciencedemos YouTube Channel that is home to hundreds of free videos for ideas for teachers and students to recreate in the classroom. Science is our passion and we are so excited to share our engaging, kid-teacher-parent friendly, and interactive lessons with you to use in the classroom or at home. Our videos adhere to the common core science standards, encompass a wide variety of science concepts, and are specifically geared toward younger learners. All videos on the FunScienceDemos channel come with an English subtitle that can be translated into almost any language, making science lessons accessible virtually any place in the world.  
We encourage you check it out and spread the word! We post new science videos once a month, please subscribe our channel.
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Breanna Wetzel Breanna Wetzel 2390 Points

Hi Gisselle, 

  I saw this post is kind of old, but I just came across it. I am a grad student now and am going to graduate in the spring. Similar to you, I have thought the same thing of what would be the best thing during my first year of teaching. After giving it some thought and reading through some of the previous comments, I think I am going to continue taking in as many resources as possible. I already know the first year of teaching is going to be the hardest, so I definitely want to use the same science activities/resources that my team is using so our group of students can stay on the same page. Like many others have said, we are going to be busy doing a lot of other things, so our best bet is to tweak activities and then later on down the road, possibly create your own if you can find the time. Or even recommend possible other activities to do with your students with your team members, but I would not do it your first year of teaching. I wouldn't want to be a first year teacher and step on anyone's toes. I would gradually work my way and if I truly dislike an activity, I would talk to my team and ask if they have any suggestions or see if it is okay that your class would be doing something different. But you never know if you're going to dislike an activity until you try it first. But that is all my opinion and I am curious to see what you did. Please let me know and enjoy your first year of teaching!

Laritssa Cantu Laritssa Cantu 100 Points

Hi Breannna! 

I am months away from becoming a first-year teacher, and I couldn't help but imagine all the things that could go wrong during my first year teaching. Your post was extremely helpful! I think that alot of first year teachers can sometimes feel alone and doubt themselves on their ability, but we have to remember that we have a whole group of mentor teachers with experience under their belt. Thank you for the advice on trying out the same science activities as the other teachers to remain on track, I have actually never heard this before and this is a good way to be guided in the classroom. 

Thanks for your words of wisdom!


Griselda Martinez Griselda Martinez 180 Points

I like the advice you gave; I myself will become a teacher soon. I agree that each year we get new students that may learn different, we need to keep resources as a back up. I feel like the more we have the easier it will be to get new ideas on how to aproach things.

Adrianna Lopez Adrianna Lopez 20 Points

I'm currently studying to become a teacher and from my experiences, I am loving the idea of hands-on activities. I feel like I would be on the same boat in a year or so. Science is not my strong suit, but I've been studying.


What are some hands-on activities do you recommend that were successful and engaging?


Harley Kitching Harley Kitching 617 Points

Like many of the others who posted on this forum, I too am about to become a first year teacher. After having worked in a couple different environments, one thing I have noticed is every school and department is different. Some choose to all teach the same thing and coplan their lessons while others want to be more independent and do their own thing. As long as you have the support of your coworkers and they are willing to answer any questions you have, I think we can all be successful. I have found that collaboration is really important in teaching and using the wisdom of teachers who have been working longer and trial and errored some of the things we might be wanting to try can be a great resource. We might have an idea that we are super excited about and think will work well, but when we bounce it off of one of our peers, we see the reality that it might not be the best idea or we might need to adjust a few things to make it work even better.

Brittany Alao Brittany Alao 580 Points

I am going into my second year. I highly advise you to take materials that veteran teachers are willing to give you. You can always choose what you want to use. I found out early on that I would not have so much time to devote to making lesson plans from scratch. Planning times are almost always committed to a team meeting or IEP/504 meeting which tends to run long at times. 

Matthew Mellor Matthew Mellor 980 Points

I agree with Brittany Alao. I wouldn't worry too much about wanting to deviate. My experience has been my coworkers have been understanding and want to help new teachers. I'd try to utilize the veterans as much as possible! You can do it!

Brandon Ramirez Brandon Ramirez 685 Points

If the entire team decides on certain documents/lessons to use, then it is good to stay on track with the team. I wouldn't think of it as not using your ideas, but make sure you give input when there are things you want to try. Hopefully as with any strong team, opinions are appreciated and respected. Now if you find that your ideas arent ever catching, maybe its not the team for you however don't enter with that mindset. Enter with positive intentions and bring forward your ideas, dont be shy! Best of luck to you.

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