Training new Baltimore County teachers

I dropped in on the three-day new-teacher orientation that started today at Randallstown High School, where about 650 newbies were being schooled on what it takes to be a teacher, of any stripe, in Baltimore County.

The hundreds filling the school’s auditorium were welcomed by a host of people: state schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick, county schools Superintendent Joe Hairston, County Executive Jim Smith, school board President JoAnn Murphy, TABCO President Cheryl Bost and PTA President Nancy Ostrow.

This isn’t my first teacher orientation, but I still get a small kick out of seeing teachers go through the same exercises they will make their students do in just a couple weeks: introducing themselves, sharing what their interests are, and their burning questions for the coming year.  These nervous but excited individuals going from room to room are like a preview of their future classes, toting brand new bags packed with materials and loads of information.

Before and during the practical sessions that gave teachers a blow-by-blow of the units they would be covering, along with some details on assessments, several folks – including Bost – emphasized the importance of building relationships with fellow instructors, with parents, with students.

Dr. Grasmick noted that nearly 100 of the newcomers are career-changers — which, she said, shows some “recognition of the rewards of teaching.”

She also said seeing the new faces serves as a reminder of her own start as a teacher, and the excitement she felt about the opening of school — a feeling that hasn’t diminished.

“There’s not a lot in life that has the beginning and end [like] a school year,” she said.  “It’s pretty thrilling.”

This Friday, Hairston is supposed to officially welcome back district supervisors, at Chesapeake High.

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