You’ve signed a teaching contract. Now what?

What now

Okay, so you’ve taken a job, signed a contract, and it’s a done deal. Now what?

In most school systems you’ll go through the traditional Hepatitis test, the fingerprinting, and the background check (the cost of which will most likely come out of your first paycheck). Then you probably won’t hear from the school again until you get a letter in the mail explaining that you’ll need to come in a week earlier than the rest of the teachers for unpaid “new teacher training.”

New teacher training is good for you, paid or not, you need it!  

You need this time to learn what is expected of you, where the closest bathroom is, which copy machine is always on the fritz, not to mention you need the time to set up your room (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Don’t be surprised if you’re a “floater.” Many new teachers get this ever-dreaded designation, meaning their life and lessons are on a cart, which they push from room to room because they have no classroom of their own.  

The first couple of days of pre-service week will likely be spent outside your building at a school designated by the district for all new teachers to do training.

There will be speeches, team building, sessions about classroom management, and all sorts of things the district thinks you need before walking into your classroom. Pay attention if you get a session about setting up your grade book and attendance software. That can be tricky.

Also, pay close attention if you have a session about choosing your health insurance options. The paperwork can be complicated and if the district is going to help you through it, take advantage of that. Make sure to have your health insurance paperwork turned in on time! In most school systems if you’re one day late, you’re out of luck and uninsured.

Around the third day of pre-service week, you’ll finally be released to your school where you will have more meetings. One of which will likely be a kumbaya with the new teacher mentor in your building.

Then finally, finally, you might get the key to your classroom. Once you’re in there don’t waste a minute!

Now that you have spent three to five days in new teacher training, you will be joined by the rest of the staff in your building for pre-service week.

Pre-service week is the week before students come back during which teachers set up their classrooms, participate in professional development, and sit through A LOT of meetings.

Check back on Monday for list of 12 things YOU MUST GET DONE DURING PRESERVICE WEEK.

Check out these posts to help you navigate your first year.

Remind yourself Why should I teach?

Unexpected perks of teaching

Can you live on a teacher’s salary?

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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