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Rookie Club gives first-year teachers best chance at classroom success

As Lawton Public Schools deals with an influx of new teachers each year, the district has taken steps to ensure they have the best chance to succeed and provide a quality education for students.

For nearly a decade, each new teacher — be they fresh graduates from a university education program, transfers from another district or new members of the profession via alternative or emergency certification — participates in the year-long Rookie Club. The group is designed to help ease new teachers into the profession at LPS and to help with any difficulties they might face throughout the year.

Brenda Hatch, executive director of elementary education and professional development, said the club starts with a three-day new teacher induction at the end of the summer break. It’s sort of a “crash course” in everything teaching to give the rookie teachers an idea of what to expect when students return to class a few weeks later.

“Obviously we try to cover a variety,” Hatch said. “We go over everything from classroom management to what technology they’ll be using. We discuss how to do lesson plans and how to be ready for the school year starts.”

Teaching is a profession unlike any other. It features plenty of freedom, but also a documented set of expectations and standards teachers must meet. The freedom afforded to teachers to meet those standards can be daunting. That’s why the Rookie Club is so important, Hatch said. The group meets monthly to discuss new topics and to answer any questions teachers may have. It helps give the new teachers structure and advice that can help them shape their teaching style while still offering them the outlets to tailor to their wishes.

“Each month, there’s a different theme,” Hatch said. “We try to train them on things that we think would be helpful to them. We provide strategies, talk about situations they’re having issues with and brainstorm different things. The main thing we speak about is quality instruction, and what does that look like.”

The Lawton Constitution

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