Challenges of a First Year Teacher

Kelly Darchuk, a third grade teacher at the Tobin K-8 School since the 2017-18 school year, talks about her challenges as a first year teacher.

During my first year of teaching, I was challenged to deal with a continually changing group of students. It was important to me that the classroom community was strong and that students felt connected with each other and our school. This can sometimes be difficult when a child comes in the middle of or towards the end of the year.

Coach Dana and Playworks helped new students connect through play. I still use many Playworks skills and games in my classroom as brain breaks in the classroom. We use simple Playworks games to learn each others’ names. Playworks also helped me introduce the concept that students’ actions affect not only themselves, but each other.

The kids often “Rock It Out” when they have disagreements, which helps to rapidly de-escalate tension and quickly resolve minor issues. We used this to build a strong classroom community where the kids supported each other. Kids now take responsibility for helping each other and including one another in all aspects of the school day.


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