Teaching 101 – Newest BCPS teachers prepare for their classroom debut

Teachers completed “ice-breaker” exercises such as this group of teachers marking whether statements about colleagues were fact or fiction.

Learning begins early for the newest members of Team BCPS. A total of 654 fresh-faced educators began their BCPS careers on Tuesday, August 13 at the school system’s annual New Teacher Orientation, a three-day crash course for educators in all things BCPS.

After hearing inspirational messages from Board President Lawrence Schmidt, Superintendent Dallas Dance, County Executive education liaison Orrester Shaw and others, the new teachers spent the first day at Perry Hall High School as students – soaking up lessons that they’ll need in the classroom when teaching everything from art and dance to mathematics and world languages.

Many of the first sessions were spent simply getting to know their colleagues – an important source of support during a teacher’s first year with BCPS. In one classroom filled with science teachers, the educators guessed which bits of trivia about their colleagues were true and which were not.

Some of the more than 650 new teachers in Baltimore County Public Schools as they listen to system leaders on the first day of New Teacher Orientation.

BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance talks with new school guidance counselors about the rigors of first-day schedule changes.

Many orientation sessions had full days’ worth of material to cover.

Rookie teachers listen as a veteran instructor explains the nuances of starting a new school year.

Board of Education member George Moniodis (right) discusses education with orientation participants, including Deborah Phelps (center), director of The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools.

But the orientation, titled “Success from the Start,” has a vital purpose for many teachers, said William Burke, assistant superintendent for the BCPS Department of Organizational Development. An end-of-summer tradition among BCPS educators, the event not only provides important information to new teachers about curriculum and instruction, Burke said; it also lets them know they can rely on the school system for plenty of support during their first year in Baltimore County schools.

That support and the Orientation itself are part of the larger New Teacher Induction Program, which includes a fall seminar focused on instruction, content and parent communication; afterschool workshops; peer assistance and review; continuing and online professional development courses; and more.

The Orientation continued on Wednesday, August 14, with professional growth activities for teachers at their home schools. They reconvened back at Perry Hall High on Thursday, August 15, to hear information pertaining to classroom management, teacher evaluations and professional conduct. Then, they can rest a day before heading back to their new schools on Monday, August 19, the first day back for all teachers across BCPS.


Story and photos by Charles Herndon, Communications Specialist, Department of Communications and Community Outreach
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