This week all teachers that were new to the district participated in 3 days of New Teacher Induction; the first day was on my birthday, which I'm hoping is a good omen!
Overall I enjoyed it. There were definitely some boring speeches, but I learning a lot about my campus and the district and am [marginally] more relaxed now about starting school.
The first day was at my campus, where we were loaded up with new teacher documents and enough school and district paraphernalia (pom-poms, mugs, buttons, etc.) to last us until retirement. By far the best part was a neighborhood tour - they loaded us in vans and showed us the areas where our students lived! It was wonderful, not because I learned so much, but because it told me that the school really wanted to help us get to know our students and their circumstances. We ended the drive with a stop at a local Hispanic market (our students are 90% Hispanic) and were given time to wander around and look at it.
The next two days were at the district, and the first day's morning was taken up by fairly boring talking heads talking about the district, the union, benefits, special ed, etc. - important stuff, but brain frying. But for the rest of our time we were with our content specialists. My district's content specialist had actually taught part of my math methods class in my teacher certification program, so I already knew she was great. There are education teachers that teach by explaining one edulingo term after another, and there are ed teachers that teach...y'know, material, how to apply education research, useful tips, silly stuff like that. ;-) I enjoyed my time there and especially enjoyed the little things they did to help us feel more at home, like providing tables for all new teachers from one campus to sit together.
I also joined the local teacher's union, which is part of the Arizona Education Association (AEA) and the National Education Association (NEA). I was of two minds about it because of my neutral attitude towards NEA and the cost, but I really believe in unions (gathering together to change a situation by the power of combined economic interest - how pinko commie!) and the local union came highly recommended. So don't mess with me - yer talkin' to a union member!