Lessons Learned from Novice Teachers

An International Perspective

The transition from being a student teacher to taking on the full responsibility as a teacher is experienced as challenging for many novice teachers. In this book, ten newly qualified teachers from five countries, Australia, England, Finland, Israel and Norway, tell their stories as they came through in individual interviews. The narratives, written by the authors, were all approved by the teachers as 'their' stories. What can we learn from listening to the narratives? What can we bring to decision-makers about how to support new teachers? Do new teachers face similar challenges around the world, or do experiences depend on their respective contexts? There are more similarities than differences.

Relevant research literature is used in discussing the cases. Much of the literature on novice teachers focuses on difficulties, and the stories presented in this book confirm that the first year is tough. However, the resilience, motivation and enthusiasm reflected in the stories provide reasons for optimism as regards teachers’ satisfaction with their career choice.

A major reason for deciding to stay in the profession is in the relations they created with the students. Satisfaction or stress related to the curriculum or achievements in their respective teaching subjects was not mentioned. The lessons learned from the ten novice teachers are useful when discussing the teaching profession and, not least, the induction phase of a teaching career.

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Chapter 1 Learning to Swim without a Swim Belt: The First Year of Teaching
Kari Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She is the Head of the National Research School in Teacher Education (NAFOL). She has co-authored a number of books and published widely in international journals.
Marit Ulvik, Ph.D., Professor of Education and research-group leader at the University of Bergen. She has published in internationals books and journals on the topic of professional development.
Ingrid Helleve, Ph.D., Professor of Education at the University of Bergen. Her main research interest is professional development in education. She has published in national as well as international books and journals.
1 Learning to Swim without a Swim Belt: The First Year of Teaching
1  Introduction
2  Why Narratives?
3  First Year of Teaching: A Year of Learning
4  Mentoring and Collegial Support
5  Main Challenges in the First Year of Teaching
6  Resilience
7  Conclusion

PART 1: The Australian Teacher Education Context

Introduction to Part 1: The Australian Context
John Loughran
1  Structure of Teacher Education
2  Status of Teaching Profession
3  Employment

2 Carol’s Story: Teaching Is Too Much Fun to Be a Real Job!
1  Why Teacher?
2  The Beginning
3  To Become a Real Teacher
4  High Expectations for the Future
5  What Can We Learn from Carol’s Story?
6  Carol’s Self-Understanding as a Teacher
7  The Professional Community
8  Conclusion

3 Eric’s Story: I Love the Spontaneity of My Profession
1  Why Teacher?
2  The Community of Learners
3  The Beginning
4  The Teacher as an Artist
5  Demands from the Authorities
6  The Community
7  I Did What I Felt Was Correct
8  Future Expectations
9  What Can We Learn from Eric’s Story?
10  Conclusion

PART 2: Initial Teacher Education or Initial Teacher Training in England

Introduction to Part 2: The English Context
Jean Murray

4 Anna’s Story: I Want to Share My Love of Languages
1  Motivation
2  The Pastoral Care
3  Characteristics of the School
4  Support
5  Ups and Downs
6  What Does Anna’s Story Tell?
7  The Future

5 Owen’s Story: Empowering Students
1  My Job
2  Likes, Dislikes and Aims
3  The Support
4  My Learning Outcome and Future
5  What Does Owen’s Story Tell?
6  The Future

PART 3: The Status of Finnish Teacher Education

Introduction to Part 3: The Finnish Context
Sven-Erik Hansén

6 Alice’s Story: I Cannot Save Everybody
1  The First Semester
2  The Second Semester
3  The Third Semester
4  Support
5  The Fourth Semester
6  What Can We Learn from Alice’s Story?
7  Conclusion

7 Maria’s Story: I Have to Practice What I Preach
1  The Ethical Challenge
2  Support
3  The Autonomous Teacher
4  Outside the Classroom
5  What Can We Learn from Maria’s Story?
6  Conclusion

PART 4: Teacher Education in the Israeli Context

Introduction to Part 4: The Israeli Context
Lily Orland-Barak

8 Aviva’s Story: Teaching Is a Call
1  Becoming a Teacher
2  Challenges and Rewards
3  Critical Incidents
4  Support
5  Future Plans
6  What Does Aviva’s Story Tell Us?
7  Conclusion

9 Yael’s Story: Mary Poppins of Geography
1  Motivation
2  Challenges and Rewards
3  Critical Incidents
4  Support
5  Looking Back
6  What Does Yael’s Story Tell Us?
7  Conclusion

PART 5: Norway

Introduction to Part 5: The Norwegian Context
Marit Ulvik

10 Endre’s Story: You Have to Try out Different Things
1  My Classes
2  Ups and Downs
3  Support
4  From Student to Teacher
5  The Future
6  What Does Endre’s Story Tell?

11 Eva’s Story: Critical Thinking, A Challenge and an Opportunity
1  Becoming a Teacher
2  Collaboration or Sharing
3  Likes and Dislikes
4  Critical Incidents
5  What Does Eva’s Story Tell?

12 Lessons Learned from the Teachers’ Stories
1  Introduction
2  Motivation
3  Expectations and Reality
4  On-Job Learning
5  Relations
6  Mentoring/Support
7  The Future
8  Discussion
9  Expectations and Reality
10  Relations
11  Lessons Learned
All stakeholders of education and especially those interested in teaching and teacher education, novice teachers, mentors and decision makers have lessons to learn from this book.
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