The teaching profession bears significant challenges for both new and existing teachers. This profession keeps constantly evolving. Hence, the source of challenges that offer both positive and negative grounds of growth also change. Knowing and understanding the problems faced by new teachers in their initial teaching experience is crucial to prepare new teachers. Most significantly, knowledge of these challenges is helpful to improve and redesign pre-service and in-service programs. A problem is that any activity or undertaking hinders performance of assigned tasks by a beginning teacher. After the completion of tertiary education courses (degree or diploma), teachers venture into the teaching field with the hope of delivering adequate services to students. Despite being equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge in teaching, the practicability aspect of teaching offers challenges and problems to the beginner teachers. The transition between training and first teaching job can be challenging especially as there is an end to missionary ideals of teacher training to the harsh and rude reality of everyday classroom life (Menon, 2011). Actual teaching comes with the integration of a multifaceted reality which forces itself persistently upon the new teacher, and this becomes a continual practice. According to various studies carried out on the above subject, the main areas, which pose challenges and problems to new teachers include classroom discipline, dealing with individual differences, motivating learners, relationship with parents, and organization of class work. Other areas include inadequate teaching resources, and dealing with the individual problems of certain students (Whitaker, 2003).
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A lot of research studies that have been carried out on the problems faced by new teachers ranked classroom indiscipline as the top major problem. However, not all beginning teachers face this challenge, even thought it is the most common problem for almost all new teachers. Classroom discipline is a broad aspect which different people view differently. The subject of discipline leads to varied reactions of new teachers. Classroom indiscipline accounts for almost all the bizarre happenings in the classroom. Classroom misconduct can take place in different forms, and there is no particular definition of this challenge. For every classroom session, there is a particular routine carried out by both teachers and learners. Anything, which happens outside of the defined classroom routine, falls under classroom indiscipline cases. The main challenge in the event of classroom indiscipline is the step the teacher takes in correcting the situation. Most new teachers lack information on the appropriate measure to take upon the undisciplined learners. The modern approach given to classroom discipline can be misleading to the beginner teachers (Veeman, 1984). The action taken by the new teacher will set a routine for future classroom discipline cases. New teachers have minimal information on dealing with such cases rendering them helpless in the event of classroom discipline cases. More so, beginner teachers fail to understand the connection between classroom discipline and management as they go hand in hand. Any beginner teacher faced with classroom indiscipline should have proper techniques and measures to desist from the repeat of the cases. Unfortunately, both the teacher training and theoretical aspect of education fails to prepare teachers for such occurrences. The manner in which a teacher handles a discipline problem after its occurrence may not have an effect on learners’ level of work involvement and class disruption. Managing student behaviors can be challenging to new teachers, especially when they receive minimal support from their experienced counterparts (Menon, 2011). Disciplining learners has emerged as a major concern for all beginning teachers. In some cases, discipline problems were connected to groups of learners with particular learning difficulties. Imposing discipline in a class with many troublemakers can be a challenge to the new teachers. Classroom discipline covers issues such as behavior and attitude which complicates the entire process. In other cases, classroom discipline may be as a source of learning problems like dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and illiteracy (Whitaker, 2003).
Adjusting to the Organizational Setting and Realities of the School
New teachers have difficulties in relation to adjustment to the rules, regulations, and organizational practices at the school unit. From the studies carried out on problems that new teachers face, it is evident that teachers are not properly instructed about the rules, regulations and organizational practices at the school. Lack of information on such matters points to the issues in the teacher preparation programs and lack of effective induction practices. Adjusting to the system can be a challenge to most new teachers since there is the lack of information on schools in relation to their organization and classrooms. New teachers have to learn the job routine activities such as planning, organizing events, and excursions, student management. New teachers have minimal information on the functioning of schools which hampers their delivery of services. In most cases, these new teachers start off their duties in new regions and environment. Unlike other professions, teaching requires the teacher to start working immediately. In other professions, new employees undergo thorough training before being assigned substantial duties in the organization (Menon, 2011). However, for teachers, it is a different case as new teachers are assigned with major tasks similar to those of experienced teachers without support. This is a significant challenge to new teachers as adapting to new organizational settings with inadequate support maybe frustrating. This challenge also affects exceptional education teachers as this section involves several protocols, unlike the general education teachers. In special education, the support and training of beginning teachers is required. Special education teachers reported lack of information on the system in relation to policies, paperwork, procedures, guidelines, and expectations related to their area of expertise. Emotional support is also necessary to new teachers, especially from experienced teachers and other people in the same organization (Whitaker, 2003).
Assessing Students’ Work and Relations With Parents
This is another aspect in which new teachers have no prior information as they step in to the real field of teaching. Accumulating reliable information and acting as an evaluator were challenging issues for the new teachers. The challenge of relationship with parents had several aspects. According to surveys, new teachers were reported to have inadequate preparation to establish and maintain proper relationships with the learners’ parents. Irrespective of the level of classes, teachers should form and maintain contact with parents. New teachers reported lack of sufficient support from parents in implementing teaching plans on students. Moreover, most parents had negligible concern in the well-being of their children’s affairs in the school. In order to improve results of students, there is a need for proper coordination between parents and teachers, and this can be achieved through constant communication and engagement. Lack of support in such matters have been challenging to new teachers. Parents and guardians need to be flexible on the ideas implemented to their children’s welfare as times keep changing (Whitaker, 2003).
Teachers need to deal with individual differences among students. Students exhibit great diversity in the classroom setting. Most common is the occurrence of slow learners and fast learners. New teachers are usually prepared for this aspect, but, the reality of the situation dawns on them in the classroom setting. The categories of students vary, and this can be challenging to draw a line between learners. The major challenge in this context is to merge learners with individual differences and handle the class as one while ensuring every learner benefits from the class. Diversifying curricular and instructional practices in order to accommodate differences among learners proved to be challenging to the new teachers unlike what they knew from the theoretical work.
Motivating learners proves challenging to new teachers. It is the role of teachers to ensure learners develop interest in the academic work, and put enough effort to attain the set academic standards. Motivation of learners cannot be taught in colleges. Hence, teachers need to devise ways to capture learners’ attention and interest. In relation to the choice of certain subjects, learners need motivation to pursue the chosen field. Finally, new teachers face the challenge of lack of support from necessary quarters in the course of their teaching. Lack of support from administrators affects new teachers, both individual and general education teachers.
Documented Supports that Have Been Found to Help New Teachers Effectively Respond to Such Problems
Classroom discipline challenges require proper classroom management from the new teacher. There have been several mechanisms to help the new teacher to properly manage classrooms for efficient delivery of service. A new teacher needs to be prepared in order for him/her to control a classroom. What a teacher does before misbehavior takes place is crucial in determining the overall disciplinary success of the classroom management. This means that the teacher’s capacity to manage the classroom group is the key element in preventing disruption and sustaining task involvement. New teachers need to have four dimensions of managerial skills, which include withitness, overlap, movement management, and group focus. Classroom management through withitness refers to the teacher’s ability to communicate to students his/her awareness of what is happening in the classroom. Teachers with this ability have eyes in the back of their heads. Overlap management refers to the teacher’s ability to perform more than two activities at ago. For instance, a teacher may talk to an individual student while he/she monitors group work. New teachers without this ability always end up being engrossed in one activity to the exclusion of other classroom events (Whitaker, 2003).
New teachers need proper training while going to their first real class before being handed over weighty responsibilities in the school. Head teachers need to ensure that new teacher have full support from their experienced counterparts and ensure smooth transition. It is essential for head teachers to acquire mentoring skills, which will be useful while handling new teachers. In addition, experienced teachers could come in handy through encouraging new teachers to take initiatives and take part in the management of the school unit (Doyle, 1975). While dealing with new teachers challenges, there is a need for individual induction training to prepare beginning teachers for certain difficulties commonly faced upon entry into the profession. The university and college curriculum should be modified to accommodate the problems that new teachers are likely to face and offer proper solutions at the same time. The problems faced by new teachers can be resolved through reduction of duties assigned to new teachers on their entry level. Giving new teachers too many responsibilities always leaves no room for the adaptation to the organizational system. Other areas in which the administration can offer support include provision of sufficient resources to support learning. New teachers have difficulties in disseminating the duties due to lack of sufficient resources and provision of necessary materials will help resolve the problem (Menon, 2011).
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