Last Modified: Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:35 AM
The Calcasieu Parish School Board welcomed about 140 new teachers this week with a two-day orientation and training session.
Johna Rion, the district’s new teacher academy coordinator, said the training provided new hires with positive strategies to implement during the first days of school; stress and classroom management techniques; available district resources; and other information to help them be effective educators. District officials said the teachers are a mix of first-year and veteran teachers.
“Our purpose is to help new teachers be able to have a successful start to their career and be a positive influence on their students,” Rion said. “This program has been in place for about eight years, and we have seen a significant impact on retaining new teachers and helping them be effective.”
The School Board also offers professional development throughout the school year that targets issues new teachers may face, she said. They include parent conferences, looking at data, evaluations and curriculum. Rion said providing continued support helps retain effective teachers and also benefits students.
Eden LeJeune, who was hired as a prekindergarten teacher at J.I. Watson Elementary, said the training helped ease some of her anxiety about the first day of school. LeJeune recently graduated from McNeese State University with a degree in early childhood education.
“I was feeling prepared and not prepared all at the same time,” she said. “Everything they talked about set everything in place for me — like things I wasn’t aware of or not sure how to implement. They gave excellent techniques today on how to get everyone involved. It made me feel better and gave me more pointers.”
Jordan Serman, another first-year teacher who was hired to teach geometry at DeQuincy High School, said he was feeling nervous as well. Serman said he recently graduated with a math degree and is getting an alternate teaching certification.
“Since my background is not education, it adds a different dynamic to it,” he said. “But I feel very comfortable with the things we have to support us. The last two days have given us books, different tools, showed us how to structure lessons and give kids the motivation and tools to be able to succeed.”
Both LeJeune and Serman said they were eager to start their careers as educators and are ready to meet their students next week. LeJeune said a quote from a brochure she received during the training really resonated with her.
“It said, ‘Teaching is a profession that creates all others,’ ” she said. “With teaching pre-K, I am forming a mind to go through their first 12 years of life in school. There’s no greater reward than that.”