New teachers are the lifeblood of schools and districts. It is vital that new teachers are supported and nurtured so that they stay in the profession. A recent survey from the National Center for Educational Statistics indicates that about 25% of teachers who left the profession did so indicating that administration was extremely unsupportive. Creating supportive and engaging working and learning environments for new teachers needs to be a priority for all administrators.
Here are 5 ways to support these new teachers:
- Create Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorships can be highly effective for new teachers. This type of on-going support will last much longer than most districts’ one-day induction programs. These mentorships do not have to be complicated in nature. Pair up these new teachers with veteran educators who have the desire build capacity in others. These mentors should teach the same subjects or be in similar grades to the mentees. Teachers should meet twice per month to go over lessons plans, classroom management, student engagement, assessment results, unit ideas, and pressing matters. Furthermore, new teachers should observe their mentors classroom instruction at least once per month in order to see best practices and different instructional strategies in action. The mentor should also conduct classroom observations of the mentee and then make recommendations for strengthening instructional practices. This relationship should stay intact for at least two years.
- Send Them To Conferences
New teachers also need to get out of their backyard and see what is going on in other schools across the city, state, and country. Sending them to conferences will give them the opportunity to network with other teachers and create PLNs that span the country. Furthermore, it will give them a sense of professionalism that is greatly needed in the field of education.
- Teach Them Work / Life Balance
Many new teachers are very passionate about doing all they can to be involved in their school. They come early, stay late, attend every event, and volunteer for different committees. While we want to foster that passion, we do not want new teachers to burn out. Get into the practices of calling into their classroom when it starts getting late and sending them home. Having a tired teacher won’t do you or your students any good.
- Give Them Instructional Freedom
There is nothing worse that handing your new teachers their curriculum and telling them to stick to the script. New teachers come to the position with new ideas and initiatives. While experiences tells us that some of these ideas will never fly, let them try them out and learn for themselves. They just might surprise you with a new idea and you will want to adopt throughout the school.
- Include Them in Decision-Making and Strategic Planning
All teachers want to feel that they have a voice in the direction of the school. This is true for new teachers as well. It is vital that we ask for their input and include them on different committees such as School Site Council and PTA. If they don’t feel like they have a voice, they will go somewhere else where they will.
Teacher Follow-Up Survey (TFS), 2013, from the Schools and Staffing Survey, National Center for Education Statistics.
Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.principalsdesk.org.