The induction of new teachers into a school or district is an amazing opportunity to build really great teachers, but unfortunately schools are missing out on it.
I've been a new teacher in two different states, once when I was actually a new teacher, and once when I moved between states after eight years in the classroom. So I've experienced the induction process twice, and honestly I found the experience wanting both times.
Both situations put me in after school classes a few times a year - sometimes close together in time or sometimes spread out. In both cases, the classes were basically a rehash of what I had already learned about classroom management and instruction. I've talked with teachers in other school districts, and this occurrence is pretty common.
Induction, at its core, should be about helping the new teachers understand what the school district really thinks teaching and learning should look like. This is very rarely the same thing as the more generalized kind of advice you get in your education classes, but specific to the needs and vision of the school. What does the school want your instruction to look like?
In one case, I went through induction in a district that was placing a heavy focus on the use of technology in the classroom, and we didn't talk about technology during a single one of our induction classes. This certainly did not model the use of technology for new teachers. Teaching new teachers what the specific needs of the school are is more valuable than a rehash of previous coursework. If your school did a good job in the hiring process, you should already feel confident that the teachers have those basic skills in place. If they don't, then provide those specific teachers with additional, individualized coaching from strong mentors that better suit their needs.
So, administrators, what are you doing to really help your new teachers adjust to the reality of teaching and learning in your school? How are you going beyond the typical to start building great teachers?
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.