For many novice teachers fresh from undergraduate school, the first year can be overwhelming, even terrifying. Yet, two William Woods University graduates, shone through the chaos and came out earning the recognition of 2013 Outstanding First Year Teachers.
Anne Osborn of Columbia, Mo., and Riley Groves of Mexico, Mo., were recognized by the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education for their excellence as beginning teachers. These teachers were acknowledged for their excellence in serving children during their first two years of service in school districts across Missouri.
Award recipients were selected based on evaluations of outstanding graduates completed by their college or university and recommendations from the school district that deemed that teacher as highly effective in their first two years in the classroom.
Osborne is a graduate of Rock Bridge High School and Moberly Area Community College. In December 2011, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from William Woods University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Columbia College.
A graduate of Mexico High School, Groves earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a concentration in social science from William Woods University in May 2012.
Novice teachers face many challenges in their first year of teaching. Osborne says she finds juggling all the tasks that go into a day of education to be the most difficult.
“As a new teacher, you can get overwhelmed, and I am the type of person who wants to get everything done all at one time. It was hard to take things one step at a time. You have to focus on one subject, one lesson, one assignment, one assessment, one objective at a time before you can move on to the next,” said Osborne.
“I have overcome this by taking a step back and focusing on what is most important at that particular moment. I am fortunate to have amazing coworkers, teammates and administration that are willing to help me when I need it. I have learned to use the people and resources that are available.”
Many teachers fear they will walk into their first year of teaching unprepared. However, Groves found her education at WWU beneficial.
“My education from William Woods University prepared me to be the teacher that I am today because the supportive staff taught me the curriculum I needed to know. They always knew exactly what we needed to do to succeed,” said Groves.
“When I found out I was receiving the Outstanding Teacher Award, I was surprised and grateful. It showed me that all the hard work I had been doing was paying off,” she said.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“Receiving the award has given me a lot of confidence in my career. I know what I am doing is appreciated by others and that feels great. It helps motivate me to always give my students and my job 100 percent.”[/quote]
For Osborne, the award gave her confidence in her teaching, but she knows she has a lot to learn.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“Each year is different when you are a teacher. You get a new group of kiddos, new assessments, new focuses, new goals, etc. Teachers are continuous learners. I will always continue to learn and to improve my best practices, as well as overcome challenges I face year to year.”[/quote]
Groves encourages aspiring education students at WWU to train their body a few weeks in advance to the 8-5 routine of Monday through Friday.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“Always have a plan B and plan C because no day in teaching is exactly how you expect it to be. Be flexible and able to think on your toes, have fun and, most importantly, love your students unconditionally.”[/quote]
Osborne added, “Don’t overwhelm yourself. Remember what you have learned, remember your field experiences, and use your resources. You picked your career because it’s something you love to do. Don’t forget that. So have fun doing it.”