Making room for new teachers: The material dimension in beginning teaching
The relationship between new teachers and their material (or physical) surroundings has a significant impact on their ability to develop the personal and professional skills that are required for effective learning and teaching during the guaranteed placement year. As with all the dimensions identified by the research as impinging on the beginner’s experience, the material exerts influence on, and is influenced by, several of the others; the relational, emotional and temporal, for example, are particularly evident in the accounts that follow. Anxious as they were to establish and maintain constructive professional relationships within schools, new teachers were often reluctant to be critical at the outset of their careers about poor or insufficient resources or accommodation; despite, in some cases, a continuing lack of basic essentials some months into the post, such as the swipe cards that were required to gain entry into the school, or passwords for access to computer technology. Some new teachers were frustrated by out-of-date resources or by a shortage of materials that had then to be shared between pupils and classes. Others still experienced a drop in confidence and self-esteem as their classroom management skills were undermined by books and audio visual aids that were uninspiring or simply irrelevant to twenty-first century teaching and learning. The allocation of teaching accommodation in particular was found to have a profound effect on the quality of the induction year, positively so in the experience of many new teachers, but of worryingly negative impact for a few.