Saint Leo Prepares New Teachers During Boot Camp

July 29, 2016

New teachers prepared for their first classes during the fifth annual Beginning Teacher Boot Camp Saint Leo University hosted a free Beginning Teacher Boot Camp on Friday, July 29, in the Student Community Center at University Campus.

The camp is offered as a public service by the School of Education and Social Services at Saint Leo and new teachers were welcome, whether they graduated from Saint Leo or not.

Beverly Ledbetter, who joined the university after a long, successful career with the Pasco County School District, and who designed and organized the camp, was the leader for the training session. She now serves as an adjunct instructor and director of teacher boot camps at Saint Leo University.

Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., university president, welcomed the group and encouraged them to continue their education by pursuing master’s degrees at Saint Leo. He said he was nervous, too, when he first began teaching literature and composition. But he reminded them, “You are all prepared. You are going into a great profession.”

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Ledbetter led the new teachers through the “drill.” She advised the beginning teachers on how to dress—comfortably, yet professionally. And she recommended the basic equipment each should have from Band-Aids, to tissues, to safety pins.

“First-year teachers are notorious about not eating,” Ledbetter said. She advised keeping some dry roasted nuts on hand for a healthy snack. And she said not to forget the chocolate.

One beginning teacher asked if it was OK to bring candy to the classroom for her students. Ledbetter said it is fine, but to keep in mind students’ health concerns such as peanut allergies. At the secondary level, it is good to check with the principal and maintenance department before scheduling a party, she said.

She provided a list of questions they should ask their mentor teachers, discussed classroom rules and discipline plans, and recommended writing introduction letters to parents.

“Think of us as a giant lending library for resources,” she said of Saint Leo University. New teachers can get items and advice from the university. And Ledbetter will follow the careers of the new teachers, keeping in touch by email and even visits to their classrooms, if necessary.

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Photo by Renee Gerstein, Saint Leo University

Five Saint Leo alumni attended the boot camp and soon with start their teaching careers: Sandra Boland, who graduated from the Ocala Education Center, will teach at East Marion Elementary in Silver Springs, FL; Katelyn Kans will teach at James M. Marlowe Elementary in Pasco County; Amanda Ricard will teach at Rodney B. Cox Elementary in Pasco; Desiree Jaramillo will teach at Gulf Middle in Pasco; and Amanda Bromen will teach at Woodland Elementary in Pasco.