Some Advice for New Teachers

Mr. McArthur Being a new teacher at Latin can be hard, no matter how experienced you are!  I was quite surprised how exhausting and challenging my first year here felt.  This school is a busy place, and it may feel like you’re “on the go” from the time you step into the building before school until the moment you leave each afternoon.  Here’s some advice to make your transition to Latin as easy as possible! 1)  Take advantage of the new teacher mentoring system, but also reach out to department mates with questions – and feel free to ask lots and lots of them!  Learning how to use RomanNet efficiently, who to go to for IT issues, and what acceptable grade reports look like here are all easier to figure out with seasoned colleagues’ help.  Adapting to all the quirky things of a new workplace can take up lots of energy.  We are all so happy to help you with anything, big or small. 2)  Get to know your co-workers and students in a non-academic way!  Making time to eat lunch in the cafeteria, no matter how much grading you may have piled up, is something I wish I had done more of in my first year here.  And the students here – they are universally interesting kids, passionate about causes we never even considered in high school.  A few minutes spent chatting with them during free periods after homework help is often the best part of my day. 3)  Don’t put too much on your plate right away.  Students here are very motivated to learn, and will drop by with questions about class often.  You will have less free time during the day to plan and grade than you think based on the basic daily schedule.  Getting over-involved in affinity groups, sports, and committees might lead to feeling burnt out.  That said, there are many unique clubs and opportunities at Latin that don’t exist other high schools.  Making a little time during your first year to figure out how you can involve your personal interests in school activities is definitely worthwhile. 4)  Enjoy the beautiful location of Latin.  With our focus on wellness this year, it’s the perfect fall to go for walks in Lincoln Park or a bike ride along the lakefront trail.  The middle school has an appealing roof to eat lunch on if it’s a sunny day.  And grading quizzes is almost pleasurable if you do it in the 5th floor faculty lounge with its vista out over the lake. 5)  Keep contributing your thoughts and ideas in teacher meetings, both at the division and departmental level.  It’s been awesome this year to hear new and confident voices on Tuesday afternoons.  The perspectives your fresh eyes have on Latin are so valuable to changing this place in positive ways.  Teaching here is an amazing experience, and with your suggestions and support, it can be even better for all of us.    All the best, Mr. McArthur]]>