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Teacher Induction

January 12, 2011

I’ve been working over the past year and a half on some projects within my district to improve teacher effectiveness.  We are beginning the next steps in the process, which include developing a new district-wide new teacher induction/orientation program.  There are definitely some things that our district does well in this area, but I also feel confident that there is significant room for improvement.

Admittedly, I am not an expert in teacher induction.  Being a third year teacher doesn’t allow you to be an expert in anything.  I only have my limited personal experience to draw from as we go down this road.  (Luckily, the group that has been assembled contains very experienced educators with a wide variety of backgrounds!)

So here are some questions:  What do you think is important for a teacher induction/orientation program?  Are there any models out there that you recommend for us to examine?  Which areas should be a major focus and which should take a backseat?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2011 1:14 pm

    I will say this, as a first year teacher who entered in at the halfway point…I received nothing in Sumner County. I didn’t even get to go over insurance stuff or really fully understand my contract or anything. No one told me how to get my email or get into our system for attendance or grades. (I got an email today telling me my password, thank god.) And I certianly haven’t received any sort of first year teacher boot camp/advice. Any and all questions have been answered by my principal, vice-principals, and fellow faculty members. So, whatever changes are made, my biggest suggestion, is to please let these things be available to teachers WHENEVER they start. I knew I was signing up for Teaching: Trial by Fire; however, I simply can’t imagine how useful and helpful it would have been to have had some sort of induction process before being thrown to the wolves/students.

    • January 13, 2011 10:19 am

      One of the things we’re looking at is how to get mid-year hires (like you!) the training they need. Do you think it would have been better to miss the first couple days of the semester, if you were able to attend a two-day induction have that information?

      • January 13, 2011 10:53 am

        Honestly, I would have rather come back earlier from the holidays. It’s hard though, in my situation, in a high school where all the kids are starting new classes this semester (so I dont’ seem so new to them, as it’s their first attempt at the class) those first few days seem invaluable. I’d hate to see the behavior of my kids after two days of a sub to start the semester. But with schools not on block, I could see how that might work. They already know they are getting someone new and things are changing and it wont’ be the same class so what’s two days with a sub? My mid-year start was more like a true first day and I’d hate to not have those two days. However, the way sumner worked, we didnt start school until thursday and friday. why i didn’t have some sort of induction on monday and tuesday, admin day on wednesday, and then teach on thursday and friday is beyond me.

  2. Lisa permalink
    January 13, 2011 8:20 am

    One of the most useful professional development opportunities I have participated in was visiting a Demonstration Class. We had these in our board a few years ago. Two Primary-level teachers opened their room for observation, basically. One could sign up, with a partner, to go and observe for half the day, usually the literacy block, and then for the other half of the day we got to meet with the demonstration teacher to talk about what she was doing and why. I think this is something people do while in Teacher’s College, but not often afterward. It gave me new ideas, new strategies, and made me start to think about how intentional my own teaching was (what was I doing out of habit vs. what was I doing because I really believed it to be good?)

    PS I think a third year teacher is the perfect person to include in this planning process! You remember what it is like to be new.

    • January 13, 2011 10:21 am

      I really like this idea! It’s something that is often discussed as an option in our district, but I know very few teachers who have actually done that. Requiring teachers to do this once or twice a year for the first three years has the potential to be really beneficial. Thanks so much for this!

  3. Rachel permalink
    January 14, 2011 8:58 am

    We are required to do 2 teacher observations every year, no matter how many years you’ve been teaching. I think it is super helpful, you get new ideas, see what you can improve upon, what they could improve upon, etc. I had a teacher induction at both the private school where I worked as well as a county wide thing here. One day of business stuff (insurance, benefits, etc) two days of new teacher workshop. My most helpful thing was having a mentor, although at this point in my career, I adopt mentors and ask anyone and everyone for help if I need it. I’ll keep thinking on it dear, and get back to you with any other ideas I have.

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