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Learning at its Best, School Stories

Welcoming our Newest Colleagues: Letter to A Beginning Teacher

The following was posted yesterday on  I would love to get contributions from south of the 49th parallel, so if this is something that captures your imagination, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at or on Twitter at stephen_hurley

Feel free to share the invitation with your colleagues and friends.


The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning

—Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting, Prologue

This is the week of the summer where most of us who are somehow aligned to the rhythm of the school year pause to reflect. For some of us, the summer is half empty, for others, half full. It’s one of those “top of the Ferris Wheel” moments, and I would like to use this moment to introduce a new theme for the month of August.

I find myself thinking about those educators who will be starting their careers in a few weeks. Whether it’s a short term contract, or a full time position, thousands will head off to school in September as “the teacher” for the very first time.

And, if the buzz on social media is any indication,  emotions are already running high. For the educators among us, it likely isn’t difficult to remember the summer-before-your-first-September.

So, this month on, I’m inviting you to write an open letter to a first year teacher—a letter from your particular perspective in the system.

If you’re a teacher, it may be a letter welcoming your newest colleague to the profession. If you’re a parent, perhaps it’s a letter that provides some insights about your child, and the type of learning experience that works best for them. If you’re an administrator, perhaps its some tips on settling into school for the first time. If you’re a student, it could be some thoughts about what is important to you in the year to come. If you’re involved in teacher education, maybe you have a few reminders that you would like your newest graduates to remember once they get settled into their new role. Even if you hang out around the edges of the formal school system, you likely have some important things to share!

And if you’re a new teacher, your voice is welcome as well. We would love to hear why you’re excited about this opportunity and the work that you have chosen to do. Tell us what brings you here, what your hopes and aspirations are for the work that you are undertaking, and the ways that we can help you live up to those dreams!

Whatever your perspective, you likely have some important things to communicate to those that are just beginning their journey. And, I’m sure that your insights and ideas will be valuable for us all to hear!

So, as the Ferris Wheel pauses at the top of another summer season, here’s your invitation to create something for those new educators who are busy imagining, creating and anticipating their very first September experience as a teacher.

If you’re new to and haven’t signed up to be an author, now is a perfect opportunity. Just drop me a line at You can also find me on twitter at stephen_hurley.

Your submissions can take the form of a blog entry, a comment on another entry, a podcast, a graphic—whatever mode that is most effective for you.

I’m looking forward to your contributions!


About Stephen Hurley

After working for over 30 years in Ontario's public education system, I continue to work passionately throughout Canada, still very committed to the idea of effective, powerful learning experiences for all participants. A musician, technology-watcher, father, husband, I find life in the world of education, even when the conversations get a little contentious. If I were to be doing anything else right now, it would be hosting my own syndicated radio program on--you guessed it--education. I blog in a few spots. My personal blog can be found at I can also be found hanging around and, most recently, I can be found on twitter as @stephen_hurley


3 thoughts on “Welcoming our Newest Colleagues: Letter to A Beginning Teacher

  1. Maybe we could also include new teacher in the states also and use Cooperative Catalyst as the launch pad?



    Posted by dloitz | August 6, 2014, 7:33 pm
  2. I was hoping that you might suggest that! Let’s do it!

    Posted by Stephen Hurley | August 6, 2014, 8:07 pm
  3. I truly enjoyed reading your blog and looking through your blog page. My name is Kayla Cooper and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am currently in an Education Course where I am learning how to use blogger. So, I am exploring other blogs out there.

    Something that really stuck out to me in this blog is when you stated that new teachers emotions are running high. I could not even imagine what it will be like the day I begin my first day as a teacher. Something else I enjoyed about this blog is that you included everyone in this blogs. Everyone from teachers to anyone “around the edges” of education was included in the blog.

    I also love the idea that David made in the comment. It is a great idea.

    I look forward to reading more post from you!

    Kayla Cooper

    Posted by Kayla Cooper | September 7, 2014, 5:45 pm

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