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My First Year of Teaching

by Sonya Partridge

When I first arrived in Calgary in August 2006 I was on a Rocky Mountain High.  Not only had I just recently graduated with a Degree in Education, but I was a freshly certified teacher in both Ontario and Alberta and, in my opinion, I had just moved to the most amazing place in our beautiful country to start my career.   Vast mountain ranges, a glorious sunrise, and wide open prairies provided the backdrop of opportunity for me as I penned my cover letter and resume in preparation the much desired “big day” with the Calgary Board of Education.

Unlike many of my cohorts who were still fighting the hiring challenge in Ontario, I immediately interviewed, and was hired, for a full time position at in the heart of Calgary’s Uptown 17th Avenue district.

As an English major, I have to admit that my assigned course load which consisted of two sections of Grade 10 Information Technology and Grade 11 Career and Life Management (read: Sex Ed) initially left something to be desired, but after the first day of Semester One, I was brimming with excitement.  What an incredible feeling to have my own attendance sheets, my own freedom to work with the curriculum, and, most importantly, my own students!  Add to this that I was also the new Girls’ Rugby Coach and my career had started off on a foot that I had only ever dreamed of!

My first year, of course, presented the expected challenges (classroom management, marking, report cards, coaching, parent-teacher interviews, meetings, evaluations, PLC’s, IPPs, lesson planning, unit planning, year planning) but also a plethora of unexpected challenges (getting lost in the school (and in my new city), being mistaken for a student (on many occasions), ambulance rides with student athletes, a million acronyms I’d never heard of, school politics, standardized testing, more paperwork than I thought humanly possible, and teaching the Vice-Principal’s son) – WHAT?!

I would often look to my experiences as a student teacher to field the issues I encountered, and I thanked my lucky stars every day for my partner teacher!  In spite of the many trials and tribulations, my first year of teaching was a beautiful trifecta:  amazing students, amazing administrator support, and an amazing commute every morning through big sky country!  I look back on that very special year with such adoration and hope that every first year teacher has the opportunity to experience even a fraction of the joy I that did in the 06/07 school year!


What was your first year of teaching like? Best memory? Worst challenge?


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