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SJSD celebrates first year teachers with end of year party

St. Joseph School District advisors said this school year has been one for the books.

Posted: May 29, 2020 3:46 PM
Updated: May 29, 2020 10:55 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) No matter the profession, the saying goes: the first year is the hardest.

And first year teachers said adding a pandemic to the mix doesn't make it any easier. 

“It was definitely a challenging first year,”said Jason Harmon, first year teacher at Edison Elementary. 

St. Joseph School District advisors said this school year has been one for the books.

“This has been unlike any other first year that anyone in history of education has ever had,”said Nancy Kirby, the curriculum advisor for the St. Joseph School District. 

That's why the St. Joseph School District held an end of year party Friday where first year teachers got to celebrate making it through the school year. They were awarded with a free meal and some quality one-on-one time with fellow first year teachers they haven't seen since before spring break. 

“Today is just a culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and the last four weeks of the module's virtual learning,”said Kirby. 

First year teachers in the St. Joseph School Distrct had some homework of their own to do. 

“Each week, they had reading and videos and assignments. Every Friday, we would meet, each curricular advisor, with 10-12 new teachers on a Zoom meeting and discuss what they learned throughout the week,”said Kirby.

The teachers recently completed their summer online institute and officially became the first group of first year teachers to take part in the district’s new teacher induction system. The program is part of the St. Joseph's School District's professional development plan for teachers.

First year teachers said they were just settling into their new careers when COVID-19 happened.

They said orientation didn't exactly include a how-to guide for teaching during a health crisis. 

Teachers said transitioning to online learning was tough, but said not getting to say goodbye to their kids was the most challenging. 

“That is the one thing I had a new teacher tell me. If she had known that the last day before spring break was truly going to be the last day, she would have handled that day differently,”said Kirby. 

As for the big takeaway this year, first year teachers said, “be prepared if it doesn’t work, especially with little ones to be like, ‘okay, let’s do this now,’”said Monica King, first year teacher at Mark Twain Elementary. 

St. Joseph School District advisors said all 48 first year teachers have a few more online modules in August and then they're starting the program with a whole new batch of teachers. 

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Temperatures started out on the mild side with most areas in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Monday was another warm and windy day with temperatures climbing into the lower 70s. With the dry conditions outdoor burning should be avoided Monday and Tuesday as low humidity and gusty winds continue. Winds will stay breezy over the next few days with wind gusts around 20-30 mph. A more active pattern of weather will settle in for most of this week with our first chance of light rain overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. A better chance for more moderate to heavy rain with possibly a few thunderstorms will move into the area Wednesday night into Thursday with a cold front. That front will stall south of our area late in the week, providing several more chances for rain throughout the rest of the week into the weekend. Temperatures will be a bit cooler after the cold front rolls through with highs back in the 50s.
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