With a week left before school starts, Franklin Community High School’s new freshman biology teacher is preparing to teach lessons about cells and body systems, but is also taking some time to learn where bathrooms, copy machines and other resources are in her new school.
Kelly Biro, who graduated from IUPUI in 2015 with a degree in biology, has already learned how to make a lesson plan, how to get students interested in science and how to make sure they learn as much as possible. And this week, in addition to setting up her new classroom with posters and microscopes, she will also spend three days in new teacher orientation learning about her new job and getting acquainted with the community.
Biro joins more than 100 new teachers in Johnson County schools this fall. Some are like Biro, starting their first teaching job out of college, and others have been teaching for years.
Schools help new teachers by showing them around the community, giving advice as to how to teach certain curriculum and allowing them to ask any questions they may have along the way.
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Teachers said adjusting to new halls and faces is exciting, but can also be nerve-racking.
“Franklin schools have been really supportive since I interviewed and they’ve gotten me really excited,” Biro said. “The week before school starts, I start three days of new teacher orientation and so that’ll really help me start out the school year strong.”
Each of the three days, the 27 new Franklin teachers will meet at 8 a.m. The first day consists of a welcome and training session for the morning, before heading to individual schools in the afternoon until 4 p.m. The following day is similar, but Friday offers a chance for teachers to get acclimated to their new community by taking them on a bus tour of the city, stopping at different historic sites along the way.
Many Johnson County school districts, including Franklin and Clark-Pleasant, have a day or days of new teacher orientation. Teachers will continue to receive training in their building and department throughout the year.
At Clark-Pleasant, assistant superintendent John Schilawski said the focus of orientation is on expectations for curriculum and instruction, rather than a business focus.
“A constant theme for us is the Clark-Pleasant way,” he said. “We believe that a lot of nut and bolt structures and forms that they will need will be presented to them at the building level, mostly through their collaborative environment and professional learning.”
Following the day-long orientation, the school district brings new staff together for professional development curriculum and instruction. Staff get to choose what they are most interested in and take sessions based on those interests in both the fall and spring. Topics include ways to bring STEM into the classroom and how to prepare students for life after high school.
Biro worked in a lab for two years and loved teaching the students who came in. Prior, she never thought about teaching, but it quickly became her passion. She then did a transition to teaching program through IUPUI where she learned the ins and outs of becoming a teacher and was a student teacher for a year. During her time in the program, she was taught how to make a timely lesson plan that would easily engage students.
“I’m really looking forward to spreading my passion for science to the kids and helping them develop,” Biro said.
Developing a lesson plan during a teacher’s first year can be difficult, but between what she learned during the transition to teaching program, and the help she received from teachers in her department, Biro feels prepared to teach her students.
Some teachers new to the county aren’t new to teaching. This is Shelby Overton’s third year of teaching, but her first year at Franklin Community High School.
To prepare for her students, she is spending the week making lesson plans, creating expectations for her students and setting up her room.
“I’m really looking forward to coming to Franklin for a sense of community and being able to build a school family,” she said.
Prior to teaching at Franklin, she worked at Arlington High School in Indianapolis as a science teacher. Now, she will teach integrated chemistry and physics and biology at Franklin Community High School. She said she expects for the community to be a lot more close-knit than her prior teaching community.
Shelby Murphy was a special services assistant, but now she is preparing for her first year as a licensed teacher.
“I’ve been asking a lot of questions and asking as many people for advice as I can so I’m prepared,” Murphy said. “I’ll continue to ask as many questions as I can so I don’t feel uninformed.”
Murphy will teach about 15 students different courses as a special education teacher. She said she is most looking forward to getting to know the kids in her class.
“I really love the relationships and getting to see their quirks,” she said. “I also love to see them face challenges and watch how they get through certain things.”
Here is a look at when school starts at local schools:
Today: Center Grove
Aug. 9: Franklin