This post represents the beginning of something new and exciting for me. I’m starting this blog so that I can communicate and share my experiences with other first year teachers and so that I’ll always have an honest artifact to represent this transitional time in my life. I hope to provide continual weekly updates (at a minimum) to this blog that will contain:

  1. My in class experience. This is a whole new world for me and many others out there like me. I truly hope the little knowledge that I receive and share can help others who are either teaching currently, or those who are interested in teaching. My in class experience will likely follow a format that I use with my students. At the end of every period, I spend the last two minutes of class conducting a survey through google. I ask my students to anonymously fill out a positive, a negative and a delta. As I’m sure you can guess, every week I plan on reflecting on at least one thing that I liked, one thing that I was disappointed with, and one thing that I plan on doing different next time around. The positives and the deltas can potentially help any first year teacher while the negatives can give me an opportunity to think through challenges and can provide prospective teachers with an honest look at the frustrations of teaching.

  2. Lies my teacher told me. Err…How real life teaching is different from UTeach. I always knew that it was true. We all did. Having to teach every day was going to be something new, something that, while I hadn’t done before, I could definitely get used to. What I never thought about was time spent preparing. While in UTeach, I spent days or even weeks planning a single periods lesson. That’s just absurd. Never again will I have that much time to spend just on planning. There are a million other things to take up my mind. During student teaching, I still managed to survive and believe that it was no big deal. Once I graduated and got a job I was in for a culture shock. I did my student teaching at Anderson High, a primarily lecture based school. My first job? Project based learning (PBL) school. Everything is front loaded at a PBL school. My only authentic experience with PBL in my UTeach curriculum was a semester long course where teams of two students spent three quarters of the semester preparing a week long project, the only PBI field experience a UTeach student gets (unless they’re unlucky enough to be placed at Manor New Tech for their apprentice teaching.) What an absolute joke compared to the real deal. Most of my colleagues know what they’re doing tomorrow on most days. That’s pretty much it. Now that’s not to say anything negative about the other first year teachers I’m starting with, but PBL is so much prep time. I spend ten hours a school day on campus, three hours a school day at home, and anywhere from five to fourteen hours on Sunday prepping for the time spent in the classroom I spend a minimum of seventy hours a week working and imagine its no different for them. I can hardly stay a week ahead. Teaching through PBL is extremely challenging, but that’s part of what I love about it.

  3. Project based learning tips and tricks. Project based learning is a an incredibly rewarding style of teaching, but it requires an inordinate amount of time up front preparing materials like the unit calendar, the final artifact rubric, and all the example materials needed. It can be soul crushing for a novice teacher just trying to keep their head above water. This blog will occasionally contain methods I have used to save time while still being able to deliver quality projects. An example of something I might talk about is how I am using google surveys to accept and grade daily warm up question. Using google survey lets me automate the grading in google sheets. Now, there is of course a trade off. I don’t get to provide high quality feedback or give partial credit when I grade this way, but with warm ups worth a fraction of a grade, it is worth it.

  4. Professionalism as a little one. I am a young teacher and the expectations for high school teachers is laughable. There are two main areas that I’ll likely explore in future posts.

    • Professionalism with my peers. It’s weird being the youngest in a room full of teachers. I don’t quite know how to handle myself. My colleagues are fantastic at their jobs and while I actively want them to observe and critique my newbie style, it makes me incredibly nervous to be compared to these educational experts. Peer feedback happens often both for the students and for the teachers. Mathematics department meetings always have something my school calls Critical Friends. Critical friends is a style of peer feedback that has three different prompts. Ideally, each person participating reviews every other persons work and leaves a comment starting with I like, I wonder, or a next step would be… Teachers use critical friends to strengthen projects that they are currently working on. I have yet to grow accustomed to giving quality feedback on someone else’s work when I know that almost every comment also applies to mine.

    • Professionalism with my students: Or, how I learned to lie about my age. It’s hard enough earning the respect and trust of freshmen, but in my classroom I teach at least one student of every grade level. Luckily, the students haven’t pinned down my exact age, but its only a matter of time. Age aside, I also find it challenging to maintain professional language with my students. Before teaching, I worked at a local restaurant waiting tables, behind the bar, and as a line cook. When someone makes a snide remark in a kitchen, you respond in kind. It has taken every ounce of my will power to avoid any slip ups. I think being a teacher is a such an odd situation to be in. I completely understand the need for guarded language, but at times it can feel like I am putting on a persona in front of my students.

  5. Post college survival. While I plan to do most of my blogging about teaching, I feel like the true first year experience needs to include life after college. I worked fifty to sixty hours a week while taking a full load at UT, so I graduated debt free and (come my first pay check) I am making more money than I ever have in my life. In spite of all this money, I am working on a budget and will spend time blogging about the financial situation of first year teacher. Not only will I build a budget for my cash munnies, I’ll also create one for my time! It seems that as a teacher I am working sixty-five to seventy hours a week and I have no idea when I’m supposed to sleep. We can figure it out together! Now, you might be wondering why I would start writing this blog if I’m having trouble finding the time to sleep… Me to.

Thank you for reading my very first ever blog post on! Hopefully you’ll stick around and subscribe. Hold me accountable and help me motivate myself to write more.

With all of the love,

Noah Ledbetter

Got any questions comments or concerns about this week’s blog post? Please shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you whenever I find my Time-Turner.