This past year I was at a small school. We had 6 teachers and 70 students. It was my first year there, so I was a newbie. There was one other newbie teacher there, the other 4 were veterans. We also had about 20 newbie students in that 70. We called each other newbies and veterans from the start. We all understood what it meant. It didn’t mean one group was better than the other, it was just that the veterans had experience for the entire school year and the differences that the school has.
I’m a Big Brother fan. I have watched every episode of every season. I’m not as much a fan to get the live feeds though. I enjoy the competition that they put on. This season, they had 8 houseguests move in, with a new twist. They brought back 6 previous houseguests to live in the home as well. Right off the bat the terms newbies and veterans were being used.
Now you’re wondering why I am bringing this up. Well, last year around January some newbie parents at school wanted us to stop using the terms newbie and veteran because we were separating the kids into groups. We explained that we were always getting students to work together and that we just use the terms to help remind the newbies that we do many different things throughout the school year and they had not experienced them all yet. They understood and all was well.
Why am I referencing Big Brother in a school related post? Well, they use the terms and instantly divided themselves up in the house. It is Veterans vs. Newbies on Big Brother this season. They barely interact and fight for their lives and stay separated.
Again, you’re wondering why I am bringing this up. I’m not 100% sure why I am. I do know that we need to be careful what we call students. How you say something to student will put something into their mind. . . good or bad. I use joking in my classroom, as well as sarcasm, but I am always careful not to call them the wrong term. It can be very devastating for students if I say the wrong thing. I always try to use sir and ma’am when talking with my students. I want to show them respect.
I guess another strange thing is that this coming school year I am yet again a newbie teacher. I have never taught in this building (other than substituting) before, so I don’t know all that is going on. What is even more interesting is that the 7th graders will be newbies as well, which is half the school. However, halfway through the year the 6th graders will be joining us in the building, resulting in newbies again. It will sure be an interesting environment this next year as students are coming into the building.
I guess, in a way, I’m looking for ideas. What do you think of the terms newbie and veteran? Are they good words to use? Are there other words that can be used? Feel free to share your thoughts.