It takes a whole school and district to assist a new teacher. Here’s what the New Teacher Alliance has learned with regard to helping a new teacher and the significance of administrators’ roles in their support:
- Relationships matter – for the mentors and mentees, for the system coordinators and district personnel, for principals and for all aspects of induction. It is crucial for districts to find sponsors in the district for the induction program in order to ensure that the systems in place continue.
- More than one support person makes a substantial difference – new teachers commented overwhelmingly about the multiple levels of support and the significance this makes to their learning. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes whole district involvement to raise a new teacher.
- Training must be ongoing – mentors need continual practice and training, while new teachers need more than one introduction to curriculum and strategies.
- Administrative capacity at the school and district levels – principals need training on how to best support new teachers. Principals and district office personnel must own responsibility for new teacher induction, ensuring that new teachers receive appropriate assistance and assignments and become integrated into the professional culture. They also must check that all of the elements of the program are in place and coordinated. For ideas on how to assist principals in helping new teachers, click here for CSTP's principal module.
- Collective responsibility – sustained, coordinated support for new teachers is the responsibility of principals, central office administrators, mentors, instructional coaches and other teachers in the school. Without several people being involved in and responsible for how to best support new teachers, induction becomes the project of one or two people, which does note create sustainability. Many people need to be involved to ensure multilevel and multilayered support.
Resources for new teachers
The Induction Standards Concept Map is a visual representation of the conceptual framework of support for new teachers developed by educational leaders from around the state.
To learn more about the initial findings from the New Teacher Alliance and what new teachers say about the kinds of support they want, read Off To A Good Start: Support for New Teachers.
The research is abundantly clear: Resources devoted to comprehensive, high-quality new teacher induction pay off in increased teacher retention and improved student learning. Read MORE SWIMMING, LESS SINKING A Case for High-Quality Support for New Teachers in Washington.
Renton created a system of support for secondary teachers that provides them with a trained mentor who is an experienced teacher, ideally within the same content area and school building. Components of the program include mentor training, a new teacher orientation, ongoing mentor meetings as a Professional Learning Community, mentor-mentee events, and informal and formal meetings between mentor and mentee pairs. New teachers are expected to work on professional growth planning with their mentors and to observe an experienced teacher. Mentors share information regarding policies, procedures, standards and curricula, engage in shared planning or activities, and guide new teachers' reflections on their teaching practice. For more information, see CSTP's brief.