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The First Years Matter: Becoming an Effective Teacher

The First Years Matter: Becoming an Effective Teacher
A Mentoring Guide for Novice Teachers

Second Edition

Foreword by Peter DeWitt

Additional resources:

July 2016 | 296 pages | Corwin

Use this updated resource to prepare for your journey into teaching
Teaching is an ongoing learning process. Where do you begin? This newly revised and updated 2nd edition of The First Years Matter sheds light on what your first years are all about. Key actions steps and a flexible twelve-month curriculum - including July for reflection and planning - keeps you proactively prepared for the classroom. Use this book to collaborate more effectively with your mentor who may be using the companion text Mentoring in Action.
The First Years Matter includes a planning section, affirmations, and activities to help you master classroom management, instruction, assessment, goal setting, and more. Whether you’re a first year teacher or entering your second or third year, you’ll learn to mindfully

  • Align mentoring to your state or district evaluation standards
  • Integrate student voice to build a community of learners
  • Prepare for teacher observations and standardized testing
  • Apply mentoring lessons to differentiate instruction
  • Develop leadership opportunities
  • Gather evidence to document your progress

This updated version includes convenient QR codes and a robust companion website featuring videos, downloadable forms, and a journal for reflection. Start your teaching journey off right. Use this empowering book to become a competent and confident teacher! 

“I love the idea of having mentors and mentees work alongside each other with Mentoring in Action and The First Years Matter, sharing their thoughts about challenges and successes each month and opening up a reflective dialogue.”
Karen Mayotte, Grade 2 Classroom Teacher/ Co-coordinator Mentor Program
Nashoba Regional School District

Use with Mentoring in Action, the companion guide for mentors!

Foreword: Peter M. DeWitt
About the Author
Part I Beginning Your Journey Into Teaching
The Purpose of Induction and Mentoring
Sustainable Mentoring
What is Mentoring in Action?
Building a Relationship With Your Mentor
Purposeful Mentoring Conversations
Part II Month-by-Month Mentoring: Being Mentored in Action
Why Do We Need a Mentoring Curriculum?
A Month-by-Month Cycle for Mentoring
The Transformation of a Teacher
August Orientation to the School and Community: Resources and Values
September Beginning the School Year Successfully: Creating a Community of Learners in the Classroom
October Teaching For Understanding: Planning and Delivering Effective Instruction
November Assessing Diverse Learners: How Do Teachers Know Students Have Learned?
December Maintaining Balance: Teaching and Keeping the Students Interested
January Beginning a New Calendar Year: Looking Back and Moving Forward
February Engaging Students in the Curriculum: Focus on Content through Active Inquiry
March With Your Mentor: Building a Trusting Relationship
April Standards: Creating Meaningful Standards-Based Learning Experiences for Students
May Assessing Students’ Progress: High-Stakes Tests and Teacher Assessment
June Completing the Year: Paperwork, Relationships, and Closing a Room
July Final Reflection and Planning For Next Year: Retreat, Reflect, Review


"Carol Radford is the consummate professional educator. From the outset of my association with her, she has been a conscientious and dedicated administrator, a mentor, and a generous and supportive colleague. Readily able to foster constructive connections between course material and her own exemplary classroom experience, she has consistently provided innovative direction and support to classroom teachers by way of the books she has authored. Generations of educators have and will continue to use them.

Dr. Radford’s commitment to teaching in urban populations has distinguished her contribution to the education profession. I continue to be impressed by her command of relevant research and effective instructional techniques. Her skill is facilitating communication. She effectively addresses the interface between practice and education with the primary objective of identifying the relevant issues in support of human well-being. Dr. Radford is truly a reflective practitioner, and I always appreciate opportunities to learn from her as she continues to clarify the relevant issues in educational practice by way of her latest publications."

Cameron Marzelli, Adjunct Faculty at the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
Lesley University

Summary of Changes:

·         Twelve month curriculum with the addition of July to reflect

                        August is the teaching chapter that shows how you go through each month teaching reader to download things from the website. Following months will have reminders to go to the website.

·         Alignment to state standards to support novice teacher effectiveness on evaluation (introduction)

·         Introducing the use of the book for (after year 1) for 2+ years also

·         Updated wording and titles for all content to be for teacher voice

·         Delete front matter and replace with “How to Use this Book Effectively”

·         Revise PLAN pages to reduce redundancy

·         Delete New Teacher Needs pages in any chapters and just use Set Goals pages

·         Consolidate Create a Novice Teacher Support Group both pages to Part I (delete pages in months)

·         Delete Monthly Organizer page in each chapter

·         Introduce the topic of mindfulness in introduction

·         All other changes from Mentoring in Action book apply as this is a companion

·         Other videos from MIA website integrated as appropriate for novice teachers i.e. Design Alliance, Advice from Beginning Teachers, What students say effective teachers do etc.

·         Companion Website using CW mouse icon to indicate to go to website.

                  Journal sheets for writing,

                  Reflection bubble sheets,

                  Graphics – slides


               Downloadable forms from ACTs pages as appropriate.

                        Videos as indicated above

Sample Materials & Chapters



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ISBN: 9781506345079

ISBN: 9781506345062