TCSS welcomes 150 new teachers

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022

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Back to school season is coming and coming fast. As your children are getting ready for school, their teachers are too.

On Tuesday, the Troup County School System held orientation for 150 new teachers. According to Tabatha Lawrence, director of elementary education, the new group of teachers comprises of brand new and veteran teachers.

The new teacher orientation is a weeklong event that prepares new educators to Troup County on a multitude important topics and issues that they’ll need to know. Topics included are how to use classroom technology, the Georgia Standards of Excellence and overall professional development.

“We are preparing and equipping them with the strategies and tools that they need, so that those strategies and tools can be used to help impact the teaching and learning in the classroom,” Lawrence said.

She said TCSS also always welcomes new perspective, new ideas and new thoughts from people who have taken jobs in the district.

“We know that there are districts around us that are still looking for teachers; so the fact that we were able to get our hiring done speaks to the work on the part of our principals, and our HR department,” Lawrence said.

On Friday. the new teachers will be heading to their respective buildings. They will receive their keys and be able to get their classrooms set up.

“We wanted to make sure we were getting them day one ready by offering support here,” she said.

Among the 150 new teachers were Dr. Utopia Echols and Mary Hardigree. Echols is a retired teacher from Alabama, who will be teaching the fourth grade at Callaway Elementary, while Hardigree is a first-year teacher, originally from LaGrange, who will be teaching the third grade at Franklin Forest Elementary.

“I came back to teach because I’m still energetic, and I love children. I just didn’t want to retire and sit around not do anything,” Echols said. “I feel like I still have a lot of knowledge that I can bring to the table and that I can help students broaden their learning and get them where they need to be. I feel like I can be the one that can bring them from where they were to where they can be.”

Hardigee said she’s nervous but ready to get her first year teaching underway.

“I feel really supported by the people surrounding me here. Some of the more experienced educators here have also had a lot to contribute to, what to expect my first year and how to deal with things that you might not be expecting,” Hardigree said. “So, I’m nervous, but I feel confident at the same time. It feels good to be surrounded by other Troup County educators. They feel like a family already.”

One thing that Hardigree is most excited to do in her first year of teaching is to efficiently teach curriculum that focuses on the student and who they are as individuals. She also looks forward to getting to know her students.

“We talked yesterday a lot about a standards based classroom and what that really is and how to make that student centered and not just teaching from the book but including the students and making it for the students,” she said. “It’s about them and individualizing it for them and understanding how to teach certain foundations in a way that they understand it best.”

In response to the large number of new teachers, there is a Teacher Mentorship Program coming in the near future that will help teachers new and old adjust to the demands and pressures of working in the school system, said Irisha Goodman, public relations director for TCSS.

According to Superintendent Brian Shumate, the group of new educators is larger than what the county normally gets at the start of a new year.

Shumate said the school system currently has less than 10 vacancies.

“We average about sometimes 90 to 100 new teachers a year,” Shumate said.

“Obviously, we’re always hopeful and very optimistic about the folks that people that we’ve hired, and we have put together a pretty extensive new teacher induction program this week. We’re very excited about having these folks with us.”