I have spent the past 2 days (yesterday and today) in Howard County's New Teacher Orientation. I'm not a first-year teacher, but I am new to the county, so they ask us to go also. It's voluntary but you get $50 a day for going, not too shabby. It's been interesting to say the least. You've been to orientations before, they start you off with breakfast, give you a little schedule and then you move around from lecture to lecture throughout the day.
Well, yesterday was neat because it was a guest speaker first thing in the morning. He was quite interesting which almost kept me awake. He was talking about classroom management and how you have to establish procedures and that will solve all of your problems. He made some interesting points, but there's always a kid (or 10) that "just don't wanna" and they're not going to cooperate with any of your procedures. After that guy, we broke off by subject area into classrooms. This part was a little tougher for me. The first thing we did was go around the room and introduce ourselves with our name, where/what we'd be teaching, and where we were coming from. Sadly, this meant I was introduced to all of the people who got the other jobs I had interviewed for, including two that I really would have liked to have. The challenge was sitting there for an hour and a half not staring darts through them wondering what was so special about them that I didn't have. A real struggle, I'm not gonna lie. But I've come to grips with it. The girl who got the job I reeeeeeally wanted (and was all but told I had by the HR guy) had been a government teacher, and because government is a course assessed by the HSAs (No Child Left Behind), I'm sure they felt more comfortable with her than they did with me who was coming from teaching 6th grade for the past three years. I'm ok with that.
Anyway, today was mostly spent in that same room with all the new social studies folk. It was neat because I found out the girl sitting across from me was my friend Phil's intern last year, so we had something to talk about. I also chatted a little during a break with the social studies coordinator for the whole county (he was running our little seminar). He mentioned that myself and another girl were former HC interns who taught in Montgomery county and returned to Howard. Apparently that's a common happening. I explained a little about why I made the move and part of that was because I felt like he knew me better than anyone in MC's central office. And he started spouting off what he knew about me - where I student taught, my maiden name, the fact that I was a judge for their "History Day" competition 4 years ago! I was amazed and thrilled.
Tomorrow is our third and last day of this training. The afternoon is scheduled to be terribly boring, but of course there's a mandatory seminar at the end of the day for which you have to sign a paper to indicate you have been through it. Blah. Friday is my last official day of summer break. Go ahead, you can shed a tear for me. It is that sad.