This article describes the challenges beginning teachers face in schooling contexts that have become increasingly subject to direct political intervention. To tell the story it focuses on the experiences of five teachers in their first year of teaching in an urban jurisdiction in Australia, examining the ways in which they taught literacy, and were required to teach literacy. Government-driven political agendas of national testing, teacher standards and performance pay were all gaining traction as they commenced their first year of teaching. The ways in which these new educators felt they were discouraged from voicing their own opinions about these issues are examined and the consequences of silencing new educators are considered. The article concludes with recommendations for teacher education programmes to better prepare teachers for the politics of teaching.