NEWBERRY — First year teaching can be scary and intimidating but for David Meetze, Faith Carnes and Neely Nelson the experiences have been rewarding.
“First year teachers can’t be prepared for everything but we do the best we can to prepare them for what’s to come during their first year,” said Dr. Lisa Waller, assistant professor of education at Newberry College.
Born and raised in Newberry, David Meetze decide to pursue his education career in his hometown. Meetze teaches Physical Education at Newberry Elementary and is currently in his first year of teaching.
Meetze said he loves the experiences he has had so far and believes watching children succeed after struggling is the single most rewarding experience an educator can have.
“I chose to teach elementary aged students because I am a fun, goofy, outgoing guy and the students allow me to be myself while teaching,” Meetze said.
Faith Carnes is also in her first year of teaching at Newberry High School. Carnes is passionate about empowering young people to change the world and to succeed in all their endeavors.
Carnes said she chose to teach mathematics because she wants to change the mentalities and misconceptions that students have towards the subject.
“I wanted to show my future students how it is not always miserable and tormenting, but that math can sometimes be fun and intriguing,” Carnes said.
The most rewarding experience for Neely Nelson, a preschool teacher at Newberry Elementary, is watching her students grow in all aspects of learning.
Nelson has seen some significant growth in her students in the few months she has been teaching. She has had a broad range of experiences her first year, but believes it comes with the territory of teaching young children.
“Without special education, all of the potential I’ve recognized in my students would likely go unnoticed and it would never be tapped into. Can you imagine all of the wasted gifts? These students need a voice, an advocate and I realized that I wanted to be that for them,” said Nelson.
Nelson said that although she walks in every morning not knowing what to expect, she wouldn’t change a thing.
Waller said she works closely with first year teachers in order to ensure success and help them realize the importance of taking each day at a time. Waller is the director of RETAIN, the center for excellence which provides resources for first year teachers.
The program provides workshops and professional development for teachers in the first three years of teaching. More information on RETAIN can be found at www.retainscteachers.org
“It’s important that new teachers learn the ropes their first year, because they will be treated as ‘seasoned’ teachers,” Waller said. “They will be expected to be able to do the same things as teachers who have been teaching for years. It’s our job to prepare them for what’s to come. ”