Change the Odds by Strengthening New Teacher Induction
By Ellen Moir —
Even though new teachers enter the profession full of optimism and passion, one in five quit before they even hit their stride in classroom effectiveness. When new teachers aren’t prepared for the realities of the classroom, it’s their students who pay the price.
Student learning suffers when inexperienced teachers struggle alone to meet their wide-ranging needs or lose precious class time establishing and maintaining structures that keep students engaged and productively learning. Imagine a hospital asking a new resident doctor to perform a complicated surgery and expecting her to perform at the same level as the chief of surgery. That is hardly a formula for success, but that’s exactly what we do with many new teachers.
In the face of these challenges, many new teachers feel that they aren’t supported when they take charge of their first classroom. Few new teachers possess the skills they need to provide the best education to children across all circumstances straight out of their preparation program. Even the most promising new teachers need help to accelerate their development and learn how to really make a difference for children of diverse skill levels and backgrounds.
It’s a sink or swim experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Research shows that when new teachers receive the right support — in the form of weekly, on-the-job mentoring for new teachers by an accomplished, well-prepared and experienced peer — they get up to speed more quickly, are more effective and remain in the profession longer. In essence, we need to throw them a lifesaver.
We have created “Change Maker #3: Strengthen New Teacher Induction,”a guide for district leaders on what the right support looks like, and how to strengthen new teacher induction in their district. It’s one of the weekly “Change Makers” my colleagues and I are publishing through mid-December — resources and information that can help you change the odds for students.
Keeping effective teachers in our schools is essential, especially in the midst of the current teacher shortage. We owe it to students to build on new teachers’ enthusiasm and foster their development properly. Equipping new teachers with proven skills and habits for inspiring students and increasing academic success is the least we can do as part of delivering on our America’s promise of a stellar public education.
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