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Orientation class shows new teachers the ropes

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SELMA — Teachers entering their first, second and third years began receiving basic orientation training last week in classes held at several locations designed to familiarize them with Johnston County Public Schools.

“Our department works with the teachers to provide additional support for them along with going over resources that are used in the classroom,” said Todd Holmes, the district’s beginning educators support team executive director. Holmes attended an Aug. 7 orientation session at Selma Elementary School.

“These sessions are designed to give our first, second and third-year teachers an opportunity to help them get ready for the classroom,” said Holmes. “We have around 375 teachers who are part of the program that will continue throughout the school year.”

“The early sessions will involve more about orientation with additional support coming later,” said Holmes. “We will continue working with these teachers for three years.”

Holmes said the training sessions are designed to cover many facets of the classroom experience and to explain certain situations that might not have been covered in undergraduate school.

“Until you get in the classroom,” Holmes said, “you really do not know what to expect.”

For example, among the many items covered during one portion of the training by Smithfield-Selma High School media coordinator Laura Chalfont and Smithfield Middle School coordinator Beth Price Media was how to explain the school cellphone policy to students.

First-year teacher Taylor Troup from Pittsburgh, who will be teaching second grade at East Clayton Elementary School, was among those in attendance at Selma Elementary.

“Johnston County Public Schools as a whole seem to have a very family-oriented feel,” said Troup. “I have already seen how much the community cares about the teachers and I am so excited to get started.”

Darian Staton, who will be beginning as a health and physical education teacher and coaching basketball at Smithfield Middle School, said he’s looking forward to being a positive role model for his students and relating to the kids.

“My brother was a principal and my mother was a teacher, so I come from a family with a background in education,” said Staton. “I could not see myself doing anything but being a teacher.”

The 2019-20 school year begins Aug. 26 for all public school students in Johnston County.