Exemplary Induction Programs
The Port Huron Program-Typical Yet Elegantly
The New Teacher Induction Program in Port Huron, Michigan, has
been in existence for 10 years. It is a basic yet elegantly effective
program because it does its job uncommonly well, which is what
new teachers want. New teachers do not want fads; they
Training new teachers is not brain surgery. It's actually quite
"doable." Just do it!
The director of the Port Huron program
during all of these years has been Cathy Lozen, and she says,
One-shot staff development meetings do not work. We
wanted a sustained program, one where we could keep new teachers
to us for a
year, nurture them, and take them step-by-step through the year-and
beyond. Then they'd have a really solid foundation about the district,
about teaching, and about our expectations. We're kind of a "no-excuses" district;
the job of the teacher is to help all students succeed.
The Need for Demonstration Classrooms
new teachers receive little more than a quick
orientation on school policies and procedures
before they begin teaching. And there is often
no time in the day-or week, for that matter-allotted
for sitting down with colleagues to discuss pedagogical
methods, daily dilemmas such as time and classroom
management, and coping strategies. Worse yet,
new teachers never see another classroom.
"I never sat in anyone
else's classroom even once,"
laments first-year teacher Gail A. Saborio of
Rhode Island. "Mine is the only teaching
style I know.
I felt that sometimes I was reinventing the wheel."3
Their actions back their philosophy. To start, they
have a four-day orientation with the following components:
- New teachers enjoy a welcome breakfast with balloons, flowers,
and gifts. This is mostly a day to get acquainted with key staff
- A resource notebook is provided for each teacher.
- The district hosts a bus tour for the new teachers with a stop
at one of the middle schools and tours of three demonstration
- The teachers receive The First Days of School4 along
with instruction on classroom management and the importance of
classroom procedures, rules, and routines.
- Trainers continue the instruction and then lead a "hot
topics" discussion of some of the issues that teachers might
encounter in the local schools.
- New teachers visit demonstration classrooms. Selected teachers
at appropriate grade levels and in appropriate subject areas share
their reasoning for certain classroom arrangements.
The four-day training concludes with a discussion of professionalism,
professional attire, making a good impression, and the importance
of calling parents with positive news. Each teacher is awarded a
certificate, a mug, and a "teacher start-up kit" in a
tote bag filled with bulletin board borders, letters, a chalk holder,
notepads with an apple design, and posters on which classroom procedures
can be written. Cathy Lozen reports, "The seminar ends with
an emotional 'pep talk,' which really makes you proud of who you
are and what career you've chosen."
Port Huron's training and nurturing do not stop after the initial
pre-school year four-day training. "Support teachers"
are provided and "special-topic seminars" are held monthly
during the school year.
A favorable aspect of the Port Huron program is that it was developed
in conjunction with the Port Huron Education Association, the area
teachers' union. The involvement of the education association with
the administration is beneficial for students, colleagues, and administrators.
"We model teamwork as a way of achieving mutually desired goals,"
At the end of one of the four-day, pre-school year workshops, Lozen
returned to her office to find flowers from all the participants
and a card thanking those responsible for the workshop. The card
"We now feel like welcomed members
of the Port Huron family."
Lozen says, "We had become a cohesive and caring group
in four days. We all bonded and our district is truly better for
it. What a feeling!"
In contrast to the many new teachers who feel helpless and alone,
there are no novice teachers working in isolation or unsupported
in Port Huron. (See the example of Helga under "She Left as
Abruptly as She Came," page 13.) Through its investment in
an induction program, Port Huron has reaped unforeseen benefits
that have exceeded the expectations of all involved. The district
was able to change its culture in about five years. For information
Port Huron Area Schools
1925 Lapeer Avenue
Port Huron, MI 48060