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Back to School: Teachers Prepare for First Day of Class

First-time teachers going through New Teacher Institute in St. Joseph
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  The hallways are quiet and the lockers are empty, but come next Monday, they'll be bustling with activity.  It will be the first day of school for students along with 70 first-time teachers in the St. Joseph Public School District.

"It's always great to see new teachers come into the building because they're so wide-eyed and energetic," said Mike Dial, assistant principal at Truman Middle School

The group is meeting this week at the New Teacher Institute. Instructional Coach Kris Larson is giving them final instructions before putting them in the game.

"I love working with new teachers. They're all so full of energy and they're so optimistic," Larson said.

After being students their entire lives, these first-time teachers will now have a new role.

"We're trying to transition them," Larson said. "They're the authority person in the classroom and the kids are looking to them for guidance."

"It's a dream you work really hard for in college and here it is," said new teacher Emily Schmidt.

Schmidt has come to St. Joseph from Overland Park, Kan. to become a consumer science teacher at Central High School.

"It's going to be your classroom with your name on the door and your students," she said.

The lesson on this day is to help answer some of the questions students will have coming in the door and seeing a new teacher for the first time.

"Who is this person teaching me? What am I going to be learning this year? Are you going to be treating me with fairness and respect?  These are some of the questions new teachers will have to answer," Larson said.

After years of schooling, training, planning and dreaming, it's almost time to be a teacher for the first time.

"It really does make you appreciate all the time with the other teachers you had in your many years of schooling," Schmidt said. "All that hard work has paid off and it's time to pay it forward."

"It's exciting being able to teach the students what my teachers taught me when I was a kid," said Cody Gibson.

Gibson is from Ballwin, Mo. and will be a new teacher at Spring Garden Middle School.

The pep talk seems to have worked.

"They are ready to go, they are excited," said assistant principal Mike Dial. "They are ready for open houses and that first day of school. This is show time for them."

This is the 7th year for the New Teacher Institute.

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