Carla Tucker is seeing Albemarle Road Elementary in a new light this year. Last year, she came to the school prepared to work as a teacher assistant. This year she is a full-time kindergarten teacher.
She had hoped to work as a teacher last year, but due to few vacancies at the school she was unable to find a position that fit. She tried her hand at being a teacher assistant. Tucker said the year at Albemarle Road gave her a chance to learn the ropes and the ins and outs of the school.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to work as a TA last year, because it gave me experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Tucker. “I’m more familiar this year, because I was here last year working as an assistant.”
New teacher orientation is open to CMS teachers with six months or less of teaching experience. On Monday, Aug. 13, a new crop of teachers arrived at CMS for orientation. They were welcomed to their schools by their principals and colleagues. Orientation will continue at Ridge Road Middle School for Pre-K and elementary school teachers and Mallard Creek High School for middle and high school teachers.
At Albemarle Road, there are a total of 10 new teachers eager and anxious to get started. Principal Leah Davis said this is the largest group of new teachers she’s had in several years. During orientation, she walked them through the professional websites they will use, the teacher evaluation rubric, classroom management tips, advice on how to build relationships with parents and an overall "ABC guide" to the first day of school for new teachers.
As Tucker listened to the rundown for first-year teachers, she said she had the jitters. She is also excited about decorating her own classroom and being the first to greet her new students.
New colleagues, including Abigail James, have told Tucker that they will be seeking her out for some direction at Albemarle.
Imani Harper, a new Exceptional Children teacher, said she was eager to try out new ideas and projects for students such as her Bravo board idea, which gives students a chance to praise one another.
“Students like to know what their classmates think about them and this way, students won’t only have compliments from their teachers but from one another,” said Harper.
Veteran first-grade teacher Gail Mercurio hasn't forgotten the emotions new teachers are feeling.
“I tell them that even after 15 years, I still have dreams about whether or not the students will listen to me. That is just the anxiety speaking, but if you are dedicated you will have those dreams,” said Mercurio, who also works as the beginning teacher support program facilitator. “It will get better every day.”