First year teachers in Florida are wrapping up their first week in a classroom.
StateImpact Florida caught up with one to find out what the process is like to get new teachers in the door, and prepared for the opening day.
John Price is a first year teacher in Broward County — the nation’s sixth largest school district.
He’s the new English and debate teacher at JP Taravella High School.
But he only landed the job two weeks before the start of the school year, after the County held a last minute teacher job fair.
Q: So you’re a new teacher, congratulations. And you’ve had two weeks then to create your curriculum?
A: Thank you. I would say a week and a half is probably more accurate.
Monday was an all-day thing at the job fair, I didn’t get out of there probably until about 7:30 at night.
Tuesday I was down at the County offices going through orientation all day.
Wednesday I came to the school and we had a new teacher faculty meeting and that took a couple hours. I got to come up here and see my room and take a look at everything that I’m basically inheriting.
Thursday I was allowed back in class so that I could work in the room and re-arrange some things and get things figured out, how I wanted to do it.
And Friday I would say I started planning out the way I was going to run the class for the rest of the year. It was my first kind of down day. Last week was kind of a whirlwind. It wasn’t hectic, I wasn’t nervous, but there was a lot of information that I had to absorb.
Q: What do you think took so long for you to get hired? Were you looking the entire summer and it just came down to the last weeks?
A: I had been looking the entire summer. Part of what took a long period of time was the state took two and a half to three months to get me back my statement of eligibility even though I had everything in very early.
And after that I guess it was just like Mr. Cerra told me when he hired me, it was just fate. I had dropped off a resume here before, I didn’t hear anything back and then I was told that there were no available positions here and I had been looking everywhere. I was just putting my name out there trying to find anything and then I met Mr. Cerra at the job fair and we talked there and he was like, “You know what, you’ve got to come work for me here at the best school in Broward County.” So that’s why I’m here.
Q: So what was that like for you? Trying to secure a job so close to the start of the year?
A: It was a little hectic. It was very exciting, so that was the plus. Things have been going pretty well though. I’ve been easing into what I’m expected to do. Technology is a little frustrating because I have to clear all the different County hurdles so that I can get the stuff that I need to use. But I can also do things the old fashioned way because that’s how I was raised so it hasn’t been that big of a challenge.
Q: What kind of hurdles? Do you need to go through the County to get something like a projector?
A: Well, for personnel numbers so that I can log into the system that Broward County has for the Internet, and so that I can use the technology at the school.
Q: So as a new debate teacher is debate something that you studied or is it something that just comes naturally?
A: Well when I was in high school I took debate all four years so I have a pretty solid background in debate, so I know what I’m teaching, I know what I’m getting myself into. It’s definitely not an easy task, its going to require a lot of work. Teaching itself requires a lot of work and debate on top of that, the amount of work is exponential. But the reward that you get for not only teaching but for teaching debate, I can’t even be expressed in words. So I’m very excited about it.