ST. LEO — Next month a batch of new teachers will arrive in classrooms all across Pasco County, ready to launch their careers.
Or, at least, somewhat ready.
Just in case they need last-minute advice on managing those first few days, Saint Leo University is offering a free half-day Beginning Teacher Boot Camp in which educational novices from Pasco and Hillsborough can pick up tips on topics such as classroom management; contract rights and responsibilities; and what all those mysterious school district acronyms mean.
It also is an opportunity for teachers to share an experience with others who are “going to be in the same boat as you,” said Beverly Ledbetter, the Saint Leo instructor who organized the boot camp.
“You are not alone,” Ledbetter said.
The boot camp is from 8:30 a.m. to noon July 25 in the Student Community Center on Saint Leo University’s campus at 33701 State Road 52. Anyone interested in attending should send an e-mail to Ledbetter at Beverly.firstname.lastname@example.org and put the phrase “Beginning Teacher Boot Camp 2014” in the subject line.
This is the third year for the boot camp, but the first time it has been opened to people other than former Saint Leo students.
About 12 to 15 people usually attend, Ledbetter said.
“I’m expecting a little bit more than that,” she said.
In addition to teachers who already have jobs, the boot camp is open to those still in the job hunt. A discussion about interview skills will be on the agenda.
“There are always positions opening up at the end of July and the beginning of August,” Ledbetter said.
The boot camp’s goal is to orient new teachers to things they need to know as they survive those first few days, Ledbetter said. Among the practical but potentially overlooked must-learn items, she said, are the process for notifying the school when a substitute will need to fill in, or who to contact when technology crashes or a light bulb needs replacing.
Then there are the even more basic needs that get ignored.
“I find that new teachers often don’t eat,” Ledbetter said.
So healthy eating and healthy living will be discussed. For most new teachers, she said, this is their first experience signing up for health insurance.
Ledbetter knows from personal experience the advice she passes along to the rookies. She worked in the Pasco County school district for 36 years before retiring from Pasco High School in 2011, where she helped with a similar boot camp.