Advice for Beginning Teachers: Educators' Letters to Their Younger Selves
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What would you say if you could write a letter to your younger, less experienced self? What hard-won wisdom would you like to impart to the person that you once were? Or, if you are looking to the future, what advice would you give to yourself, to remind you of the priorities to keep in mind?
The letters collected in this book were authored by a diverse group of educators—both seasoned professionals and aspiring teachers—who wrote to themselves as beginning teachers. Their letters address what they judge to be most critical issues facing a new teacher and offer suggestions for handling these in ways that allow them to be true to the core values and beliefs they hold most dear.
Their insights and advice are offered to help those who are entering this profession to focus on the crucial keys to success, so that they not only persevere and overcome the challenges of their first year, but also prevail and flourish in the years to come.
This compilation of letters will appeal to a wide range of readers—whether they have zero years of experience, are long retired, or fit somewhere in between. Preservice and novice teachers, who are just beginning their careers in this challenging but rewarding profession, are an especially appropriate audience. Other intended audiences include professors who train new teachers, veteran teachers who mentor them, and administrators who supervise them.
This book celebrates those who have chosen teaching, the most noble of professions, and pays tribute to their commitment and dedication to making a positive difference in the lives of our children.
Acknowledgements and Dedication
About the Author/Editor
Letters Written by Aspiring Educators to their Future Selves
Letters Written to Novice Early Childhood and Elementary Level Educators
Letters Written to Novice Middle and Secondary Level Educators
Letters Written to Novice Teachers in Specialty Areas
MESSES, GUESSES, and SUCCESSES: What Can Be Learned by Walking in These Shoes—A Summarizing Reflection on the Common Themes and the Lessons Contained in the Letters
Index of Letter Contributors
Dr. Sara Coble Simmons has spent over 45 years in various facets of public education in three different states—North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education (Phi Beta Kappa) and M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Texas at Austin (Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi). She was a public school teacher for 20 years and has worked at the Texas Education Agency and as an independent educational consultant. In 2017, she retired as a full professor from the Department of Elementary Education in the School of Education at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. In recognition of her teaching, scholarship, and service, she was awarded professor emerita status.
While at UNC Pembroke, Dr. Simmons taught 29 different professional core courses for undergraduate and graduate education programs. She received the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2005 and 2016, both times after being nominated by students. She was nominated for the prestigious North Carolina Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching in fall 2016. She was the Associate Dean of the School of Education from 2007-2008, and Acting Dean of the School of Graduate Studies from 2008-2012. She was elected by her peers to the top faculty leadership role as the Chair of the General Faculty and of the Faculty Senate from 2016-2017.
Dr. Simmons is the founding President of the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators (NCAEE) and has served on its board of directors and numerous standing committees. She was active in the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (NC-ACTE), having served on the Executive Committee and as Co-Chair and Chair of the association’s Annual North Carolina Teacher Education Forum. She has directed various grant-funded collaborative projects to support teachers—especially beginning teachers—in area public schools. Her areas of research interest include standards-aligned instructional design, differentiated instruction, classroom assessment, online pedagogy, and teacher mentoring and induction. She consults with school districts and schools and has given over 100 peer-reviewed presentations at varied state, national, and international professional conferences. She has had articles published in academic journals and papers included in the proceedings of professional meetings. She is the author of Discovering the Teacher Within You: An Introduction to Education in North Carolina, 2nd edition (2019) and Advice for Beginning Teachers: Educators’ Letters to Their Younger Selves (2017), both published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.
She strives to stay current on state and national educational issues, and she enjoys meeting people and engaging in a lively exchange of ideas about teaching and learning and educational improvement. She has the upmost admiration and respect for aspiring and practicing educators who have chosen to make a positive difference in the lives of the children who attend our nations’ public schools.
Dr. Simmons may be contacted via email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the publisher, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company (https://www.kendallhunt.com/ or https://www.kendallhunt.com/corporate/contact).