New to the Classroom
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Dr. Thomas Brady watched for years as his students in BSU's secondary education program dragged a half dozen books into his classroom. A veteran high school teacher himself before becoming a professor, the Connecticut resident decided he could lighten their load.
So Dr. Brady wrote his own book, supplanting the six he used to assign his students. The Beginning Teacher, published by Rainmaker Education, is just out, and it combines the all-important theories of teaching with examples drawn from the experiences Dr. Brady garnered during his years on the front lines.
The book is densely packed, and designed to be an inexpensive, one-stop-shopping text for students. From the first days on the job to key topics, such as special education, grading and digital literacy, The Beginning Teacher provides a step-by-step plan for surviving that first year and beyond. Dr. Brady points out within the pages that a high percentage of teachers leave profession within the first five years due to a lack of preparation, especially about the many “hats” today’s educators need to wear.
With the new school year just underway, we thought this would be a good time to ask Dr. Brady about his book and some of the things new teachers need to know as they enter that classroom for the first time.
Q: Can you tell us about the book and its intended audience.
A: It’s targeted at two types of people: newer teachers working at the high school and middle school levels who are in the first few years of their career, with stories about what’s going on in the field and how to build their own educational philosophy. And it’s also geared toward those preparing for a career in teaching. It’s half instructional and half anecdotal from my decade of teaching.
Q: Are you using it this year?
A: I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and I’ve had some colleagues, through some informal marketing I’ve done, read it and like it. From what I’m hearing, is it’s a nice mix of instruction and stories from the field.
Q: You’d earlier mentioned about letting others learn from your mistakes.
A: Yes, I talk a lot about the mistakes I made, and students and new teachers like the honesty of it.
Q: What are some of the mistakes you made that are universal?
A: I’d say one of the pitfalls of the beginning teacher is the one-size-fits-all mentality. I remember once in my ninth year of teaching at a rough school here in Massachusetts, a kid was using his cell phone. I lost my temper. And in the book, I talk about my poor reaction to that. You need to stop disruptive behavior, but you can’t lose your temper.
Q: What are the other tough things new teachers have to deal with?
A: Class management is one of the hardest things to teach someone. It can’t be learned from theory. When you become a teacher you have this toolbox, and until you use it you don’t know how to do it. The stories in the book, I think, are going to be helpful because rather than just giving them the theory I speak from experience. I think this also adds to my credibility, too.
For more information about Dr. Thomas Brady’s book, The Beginning Teacher, log on to http://shop.rainmakereducation.com/Brady-The-Beginning-Teacher-978-1935801-07-8.htm.