Brooke Schechner // What I Remember From Orientation

| October 1, 2010

Brooke Schechner, second-year M.A. student in the Teaching of English, recalls a tumultuous first day at Teachers College and offers some words of reassurance for new students.

Professor: “So, are you doing the 34, 36, 38 point program?”

Me: “Ugh, Mom…. which one am I doing?”

That’s right, I brought my mom to orientation. Despite feeling like a small child with my Mom in tow, I am relieved she came. She was busy jotting down notes about core curriculum, New York State certification requirements and the number of points I needed to graduate, while I was looking around the room in a daze. I came to TC immediately after I graduated from a small, liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere and when I arrived at TC’s urban campus, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know a soul, I was new to New York City and I felt like I lived in a cave compared to my peers who introduced themselves as Peace Corps fellows or even experienced teachers. However, as I began classes (no, my mom didn’t accompany me to class) I realized that there were also people who had never taught before either. My classes were blended with career changers, recent college graduates as well as people who did have some teaching experience, but in the blur of orientation, I thought I was the only “newbie.” Having now been at TC for a year, I can confidently say that regardless of if you’ve taught or not, the diversity of peers’ experiences only fosters meaningful classroom discussions.

I wish I knew that coming into orientation. I wish I knew that I wasn’t the only one brand new to teaching because that would have made orientation an exciting time instead of a horrifying one. TC is one of the most well respected education schools in the country and I missed out on enjoying my orientation because I was too busy being nervous.

Good luck at orientation, and if you do happen to bring your mother, don’t feel bad because other people probably will be bringing their mom’s too!!

P.S. The points and all of the information explained during orientation can be clarified by your assigned adviser; so don’t feel bogged down by the nitty gritty details.