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   Chapter 5
   Chapter 6
© 2003 Harry K. Wong Publications, Mountain View, CA
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New Teacher Induction: Print Page

Exemplary Induction Programs

Our new teachers became more successful and they were all
coming back the following year. This had never happened
until we implemented an induction program.

- Elmo Broussard, Superintendent
  Lafourche Parish Public Schools
  Thibodaux, Louisiana

If this can happen in one school district, it can happen in yours and thousands of others. This is truly not rocket science. Nor is it a mystery. What is mysterious is that we continue to do what doesn't work.1

For systematic training and support to occur, the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education says what is needed is sustained School-Based Professional Development. They state:

The questions and uncertainty that new teachers bring to school require far more than an orientation meeting, a mentor in the building, and a written copy of the school's
discipline policy.

What new teachers want in their induction is experienced colleagues who will take their daily dilemmas seriously, watch them teach and provide feedback, help them develop instructional strategies, model skilled teaching, and share insights about students' work
and lives.

Therefore, what new teachers need is sustained, school-based professional development guided by expert colleagues, responsive to their teaching, and continuous throughout their early years in the classroom.

Principals and teacher leaders have the largest roles to play in fostering such experiences.2

We know that inadequately prepared, poorly supported teachers leave the profession at staggering rates. The reason is obvious: lack of training, lack of support, and lack of success. We know that well prepared, supported teachers remain in teaching and enjoy
rewarding, successful careers, making a positive impact on the lives of countless children.

There is a need for a
instructional training system for beginning teachers in order to help them become effective professionals.

We know that highly successful schools and school districts are successful because they TRAIN, SUPPORT, and RETAIN the most effective teachers. The first and most important step they take is to provide a structured induction program for their new teachers.

The Induction Process

Although induction programs differ because they cater to the unique cultures and communities they serve, all have some commonalties. They all teach the following:

  • Effective classroom management procedures and routines
  • Effective instructional practices
  • Sensitivity to and understanding of the school community
  • Lifelong learning and professional growth
  • Unity and teamwork among the entire learning community

The primary focus of the induction process is on instructing teachers in techniques that will help them to help their students be successful. Thus classroom management and instruction take center stage.

The focus is on training and the major role of the trainers is to immerse new teachers in a district's culture and to unite them with everyone in the district to form a cohesive, supportive instructional team. New teachers quickly become a part of the district "family."

A major feature of the induction process is the use of demonstration classrooms in appropriate grade levels or subject areas. A master teacher, many times one of the mentor teachers, simulates the way a classroom should be arranged and managed for the first day of school. The new teachers invariably sit in awe as they learn firsthand, from the experts, how to start school successfully.

At the end of the induction week, there is usually an awards ceremony and a civic function where all the new teachers receive certificates along with welcome packages from community supporters. Because the induction process stresses lifelong learning, the best new teacher induction programs continue for several years.