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Sharing is caring – help a newbie teacher in times of need!

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New teachers who have to face classrooms filled with learners are both exciting and overwhelming. Yet on average, nearly 10% of teachers in the first 1-3 years of their teaching leave the profession altogether, sometimes at a rate that is 150% higher than the attrition rate of other teachers (OECD, 2005). In order to facilitate the professional growth and success of new teachers, we need to understand their areas of need and how we, as experienced teachers can help them in their time of need.

Be positive. Correcting mistakes is important, but so is catching learners doing something right and reinforcing them. Don’t always focus on the negative. Experienced teachers will tell you that negativity kills that flame inside any learner.

Give frequent and concise feedback. It takes no more time to read papers and exams immediately — and to return them the next class period. Learners love immediate feedback and they feel important to know that you spend your time on them.

Be enthusiastic. Some people are naturally expressive; others are less expressive (and therefore better poker players). The moral: If you’re a low-key person who needs to express more enthusiasm, don’t worry about overdoing it. What’s more, fake it and you may make it.

Don’t expect newbies to be as enthusiastic. Chronically sleep-deprived and sometimes self-conscious collegians may not share our energy, warmth and of course positivity.. ALL of these however, awakens the mind and rejuvenates the soul.

Give lots of examples. For every abstract point you must have a concrete example. The better you teach, the better the results!

Make questions concrete. An easily engaged, specific question can unleash a discussion. Don’t leave things open-ended and unclear. The only thing you will get in return is a vacant expression and tons of frustration!

Realise that in teaching, as in life, two things are certain: 1) You’re going to make a fool of yourself at some point, and 2) You’re going to have your heart broken.

Good luck dear newbie, may the force be with you. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!



Sharing is caring – help a newbie teacher in times of need!


Inge Liebenberg




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