Newbie Alaina Adams

Rookie Moves

Alaina Adams Education, Education Policy, Life in the Classroom, Mentoring, National Board Certification, Professional Development, Teacher Leadership

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Now that I’ve returned to the classroom, people keep asking: “How is it going?” And my answer has been pretty consistent: it’s wonderful, but it’s also kicking my proverbial rear end! It’s not like I forgot how complicated teaching was, but I didn’t expect to make so many rookie mistakes all over again.

My first rookie mistake? I totally forgot to erase things from the white board in-between classes, which gave all of the answers to the next class. Next? I forgot to take attendance – for two days (I’ve fixed this since). I didn’t even touch grading for a few weeks amidst the survival-hustle and, when I finally hunkered down to tackle it all, I realized that I had forgotten how to use the online grading program. (This took another week to figure out because I’m slow like that).

On the upshot, I have finally stopped passing out on the couch right when I get home from work… I can actually make it until at least 8pm now. Oh – and I have successfully left my classroom once during lunch to interact with other adults! It has been truly eye opening to see how the continuum from novice to expert can ebb and flow depending on years away from the classroom, teaching assignment, and campus.

Thankfully, I get to attend new teacher meetings on my campus, which are required for people who have been newly hired to the district. I know, I know… I’m not exactly “new” since I previously worked an eight-year stint for the same district, but I have to admit that I am glad this policy is in place because the meetings have saved my sanity! Knowing that I have a safe place to be around others struggling with similar newbie issues (like inhaling lunch on the way to find a working copy machine and adjusting bladder strength to get through the day) is immensely comforting.

As I finish the current grading period, I’m drinking lots of Airborne to stave off the annual cold until I can get to Fall Break and slip into a blissful, much-needed slumber. And as I move into the next grading period, I will keep hugging students at the door each day, will keep my classroom well stocked with antibacterial facial tissue and hand sanitizer, and will try to leave my classroom at least once per week to eat lunch with others instead of using it as an additional prep period. Though this newbie is exhausted, her heart is full and all is right in the universe.


Dr. Alaina Adams

Phoenix, Arizona

My name is Alaina Adams and I am a Board Certified educator who has taught a variety of English Language Arts classes in middle school, high school, and higher education contexts for the past 12 years. I am currently working as a leader in full-time training in the Phoenix Union High School District and love the new perspective it brings for teacher leadership development in my urban, secondary setting. In addition to working in an administrative capacity, I also coach teachers on my campus, district, and across Arizona as they engage with the National Board Certification process. When not working towards total world domination, I am the mother of a teenage daughter, enjoyer of live music, and am an all-around text-messaging, Twitter-following, and Facebook-posting human being.

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Comments 4

  1. Christine Porter Marsh

    I’m glad your “heart is full”! That’s the best part of the job and makes up for a lot of nights of passing out at 8PM!

  2. Jess Ledbetter

    You know, this really speaks to something I’ve been thinking about lately: No matter how long you’ve been teaching, it really makes a difference to get together with other teachers, struggle openly, and preserve the sanity. I started a support group for teachers this semester–and have to selfishly admit that I’m getting at least as much out of it as they are! Teaching really is a team sport- no matter how long you’ve been in the game! :)

  3. Amethyst Hinton Sainz

    I am also a newbie, again, this year after 20 years in the classroom. Full time English Language Development in (never say never) Junior HIgh. It is hurting my pride more than I thought it would, to swallow the FACT that it REALLY IS like being a first year teacher all over again. Yes, I come into the position with skills and dispositions a newbie would not, but those feelings of bewilderment, exhaustion, and possible inadequacy are hard to take. I am finding myself doing a lot of positive self-talk… it definitely helps. My goal this quarter is to eat lunch with adults. Hasn’t happened yet, so GOOD JOB. Hang in there, Chica!

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