School District 51 welcomes over 160 new teachers this year

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - First year jitters are common for students, but what about their teachers? District 51 hired 163 new teachers for this school year, which means a lot of new faces in the halls of area schools.

It's safe to say these new teachers are doing some learning of their own.

The new D51 teachers say there are some things you are prepared for. Other times, you just have to roll with the punches.

First year growing pains hit both students and teachers.

"It feels like your head is spinning, but it's the third week now and it's still spinning but it gets a little bit slower every day," new physical education teacher Katie Lloyd said.

Lloyd was once a student herself, but now, she's on the other side of the classroom filling those big shoes.

Public speaking makes many nervous, but teachers are trained to do just that. There are many things, though, that can only be learned in front of a class in a teacher's first year.

"It's an uphill battle for them, trying to learn the curriculum, new students names, as well as working hard and trying to do a good job," Fruita Monument High School assistant principal Lee Carleton said.

Lloyd and another newbie, Kathaleen Recker, say it's not just in-class time you have to worry about. Caring about students and making sure their needs are met isn't something you can manage with a timeclock.

"Supporting students outside of class time, is really surprising how much it occupies my mind even when i'm not in school now," Lloyd said. "There is just so much to teaching kids other than the time in the class room."

"I think about the students, my teachings, and what i'm going to teach, and was it effective, and how can i do it better, that is something that is on your mind always," Recker said.

As these two and 161 others take on their rookie year, they look to the old hands for help and find open arms.

"We are taking our experienced teachers and sharing knowledge that they have to pass on to the brand new teachers, so we think that will help support them as they are starting out their career," Carleton said.

Knowing their part of a team is especially helpful for new teachers finding their way.

"We're able to check in with each other and see how things are going, bounce ideas off each other, and also hear from our very experience and great staff here," Recker said.

"Feeling that support with the other staff and administration really makes the transition go a lot more smoothly," Lloyd added.

District 51 officials say they are excited for all the brand new teachers especially since they said goodbye to 40 of their most seasoned professionals since last year.

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