Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Proud New Owners of teachnet.org... We're Very Flattered... But Please Stop Copying this Site. Thank You.
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

VIDEOS FOR TEACHERS
RESOURCES
Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers
HOW-TO ARTICLES
TEACHER RESEARCH
LINKS

GRANT WINNERS
TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
2010
TeachNet Grant Winners
2009
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
2008
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
2007
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Power-to-Learn
Math and Science Learning
Ready-Set-Tech
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
ABOUT
Our Mission
Funders
   Pacesetters
   Benefactors
   Donors
   Sponsors
   Contributors
   Friends
Press
   Articles
   Press Releases
Awards
   Cine
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award

Sitemap

Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
List Archives

New Teacher Induction and Support

Happy New Year TNPI!

Most of us returned to school today to bright post-holiday students. As veteran teachers it always amazes me how each year, and in fact, each day of teaching is different. Maybe that's why I love it so much. But for this month, we need to try to remember what it was like when we were "brand new" at this craft. What was that first year like for you? Do you remember a special mentor who helped to make it sane? What did you yearn for the most professionally? Or were you like me, so overwhelmed you didn't know what help to ask for. This month's listserv conversation will center on Stansbury and Zimmerman's article in the Journal of Staff Development, Fall 2002, Smart Induction Programs Become Lifelines for the Beginning Teacher. It's kind of like raising a teenager, never, never forget what it was like to be 15 years old! We, as veteran teachers, need to be part of the solution for the nationwide problem of a steady loss of teachers who, after a relatively short time in the classroom, give up on the profession. Paragraph 8 on page 5 of the article compares the value of high and low intensity support strategies for new teachers. Do you agree with this statement?

"In high-intensity support efforts, however, much more is expected of veteran teachers. But if they are to operate as anything more than buddies or cheerleaders, they must be chosen carefully, receive appropriate training, and be given adequate time away from their own classroom responsibilities-all of which requires a greater commitment on the part of the school or district."

Please read this short but interesting article available on the Teachersnetwork.org website. Then feel free to jump in and do a little walk down memory lane about that first year for you. We all have stories to tell and valuable suggestions to contribute.

Cheers!

Barbara Hampton
Miami, FL
January 7, 2003
Hi Barbara and everybody!

I really enjoyed reading this article because it has so much bearing on my work with new teachers and their schools.

The quote Barbara pulled out really validated much of what we are seeing with the project I work on.

"In high-intensity support efforts, however, much more is expected of veteran teachers. But if they are to operate as anything more than buddies or cheerleaders, they must be chosen carefully, receive appropriate training, and be given adequate time away from their own classroom responsibilities-all of which requires a greater commitment on the part of the school or district."

Part of my work as a site facilitator with the New Educator Support Team is identifying and working with experienced teachers in order to "institutionalize" new teacher support in the schools. In other words, my goal is to put myself out of my job when the teachers at the school have built the capacity to do the work on their own.

It takes time, support, and professional development for the teacher leaders to emerge and take on the role of coach teachers (which is what we call them). We provide ongoing support and seminars for them, as well as on-site support in the schools.

Now that our project has left nine schools (they no longer have a site facilitator on site), the schools are exhibiting varying degrees of success in inducting and supporting new teachers. A research study is being conducted by NYU to establish how the schools are faring. What we are seeing anecdotally is at the schools where the principals or districts made the commitment by giving teachers time to do the work, they are successfully doing it (well, duh).

Teachers are the ones who fully realize the importance of the work so I believe that they are best suited to be the ones to transform their school communities to support new teachers.

Judi Fenton
Miami
January 9, 2003
Judi,

Your project and the NYU study hit the nail on the head. Again, it is the leadership commitment to the project that will make or break it. When the principal sees the benefit of teachers spending real time mentoring new teachers, these programs are a success. Success means new teachers with a real grip on the proper skills and confidence necessary. Like you said, if we do our job well, we will find ourselves out of the mentoring business. Isn't that what we aim for? Maybe that is part of the problem. So many times, "New Teacher Coordinators" are appointed, not because of their expert teaching abilities, but instead due to their longevity and the fact that they want "out" of the classroom themselves. So who do we have mentoring, or going through the motions of mentoring our new teachers? Sometimes the most burned out ones of all! These are the programs that fall flat, and in the process I am convinced that we lose some of the finest new teachers who never were given the right direction and tools. Not that seasoned teachers aren't fantastic mentors if they are still passionate teachers, but who is to say that a three year "new teacher" couldn’t be a terrific coach? "Paying your dues," so to say, should not be a prerequisite for coordinating new teacher induction programs.

Barbara Hampton
Miami
January 9, 2003
Absolutely, Barbara,

We've found that some of our most committed coach teachers have only 3-5 year in the classroom. They are close enough to their first year to really remember what a first year teacher needs. Also, we've found that when a new teacher is supported, she/he is more likely to want to (and be good at) support others in the ensuing years.

Also, a somewhat sad fact is that in many of our schools in NYC, probably almost everywhere these days, a teacher who has been teaching 3-5 years is often one of the most senior teachers in the building.

Judi Fenton
New York City
January 10, 2003
Wow, 3-5 years experience the most senior members of a faculty. That is an interesting statistic. Here in Miami, a new teacher must remain at one school for the first three years before they can even put in for a transfer, part of the contract. This can good and bad, if you are in a bad situation with no assistance, you are stuck there for three long years. That's probably when we lose new teachers to other professions. We also have a 90 day trial period when the principal can basically fire you. I know that these rules have been put in place with good intentions in mind, but in the wrong hands they can be dangerous.

Barbara Hampton
Miami
January 10, 2003
I have to say Barbara that this is true in some schools in Los Angeles as well. Many times a new teacher (in the past noncredentialed) will work at a school while they do course work for their credentials and then leave it for "greener pastures" once they get certified. I have seen it happen time and time again. But, I also have seen some teachers stay and stick it out at these hard to staff schools and the reason why? Collaboration and support from colleagues. I also question the selection process of mentors Barbara. It is true, that there are times teachers are selected as mentors (over $4,000 stipend in the past) just because of how long they have taught and not necessarily their ability to coach and support others. I have heard from new teachers that did not get much assistance from their assigned "mentors". Luckily, many of these teachers sought out collaboration and networking in other places.

Now on the other side of the fence, I can also say, having been a mentor in my district, that the training mentors have available to them is not as effective as it could be. The district also needs to take some responsibility in the professional development of their teacher leaders.

It is so exciting to hear about projects like Judi's where one of the goals is to build capacity within a school. Mentors and coaches on the school site do not only provide new teachers with easy access to support, but these mentors know the school's climate and history.

Have a great weekend!

Jane Fung
Los Angeles
January 10, 2003
In Fairfax County (VA), we have a mentoring education program, which all mentors must take before being able to serve as a mentor for a new teacher (they can also take the course simultaneously while serving as a mentor). This is both good and bad -- good, in that all mentors get the same advice and encouragement to pass along to new teachers; bad in that simply having to take another course scares away many who would actually be great mentors, just sharing what they know. If these programs could be transferred into a school-based program, I think that more people would participate and it would actually promote more camaraderie within the school. I've talked to several people who have been through this mentoring course, and they feel it is a waste of time the way it is currently set up.

Thom Jones
Fairfax County, VA
January 12, 2003
Thank you, Jane, for bringing up the subject of training for the mentors. Which training programs seem to work the best? Those taught by previous mentors are probably the most effective, but input from the new teachers is also necessary. Those programs that come from top-down administration are usually ineffective. We need the folks on the front lines developing these programs. What do you think?

Barbara Hampton
Miami Affiliate
January 12, 2003
Hi Everyone,
Those of us in Miami are working on a project to support new teachers. We are trying to involve our retired teachers as mentors to the beginning teachers. We feel they are an untapped resource, with a lot of knowledge to share and often with time on their hands. We are creating a selection process, as we all know not every teacher is a good resource. Has anyone done this? Any ideas or comments?
Thanks, in advance, for your input.
Claire Price
Miami
January 16, 2003
Just a Thought,

Here in Fairfax County (VA), we have what we call the WAR (Work After Retirement) program. Quite a few retired teachers have come back into the classroom, either as subs or long-term subs. I am utilizing one myself when I go to the conference in February. What an invaluable resource -- I totally agree with the utilization of these folks as mentors, although the landscape of education has changed greatly over the past decade.

Thom Jones
Fairfax County, VA
January 16, 2003
Claire,

I am the administrator of a program that involves the full-time release model of mentoring. Twenty per cent of our mentoring and peer coaching staff are retired. As we interviewed, we required a master’s degree and were especially interested in people who had more than one certification. I also looked for teachers who had spent the bulk of their career in the more challenging schools in our district as opposed to cushier atmospheres. The dual certification screen enables us to place the mentors with a variety of beginning teachers, not just in their former content. Sometimes the certification involved middle and elementary and other times it includes regular and special education. Dual certification seems to imply that a person has a global sense of education. This is more a belief of mine and less a theory at this point. Additionally, I like to see that an applicant has worked for a variety of administrators. Communicating with the school leadership about t he needs of a group of beginning teachers is a different role than what the newly released or retired full-time mentor is accustomed to. Our most unique, retired mentor has recently been an assistant superintendent in human resources in another NC district. He really knows his licensure requirements, as well as school law. His experience as a principal also adds to our group. Best o all, he has love for good teaching and ask teachers the right questions of beginning teachers in his guidance of them.

More advice for you, but not on the hiring end, is in the area of training. It is important that all of your mentors be trained in the model that you are designing for your beginning teachers. I suggest that they understand that they are not expected to go in and create a cadre of teachers just like themselves, but instead that they be given in guidance in refining the diamonds in the rough that new teachers are as separate individuals. Regular meetings are important. Another key detail is that the mentors should not be on the school's payroll but on a separate payroll as kind of a mentoring faculty. When such mentors are placed on a school payroll, their first client becomes the principal instead of the beginning teacher. There could be confusion over job description and just "who is in charge."

Finally, our district, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, has enjoyed great support from the UC-Santa Cruz New Teacher Center in a national dissemination grant from the Goldman-Sachs Foundation. Their website is newteachercenter.org

Best wishes for successful support of beginning teachers in Miami.

Suzanne Newsom
Charlotte, NC
January 16, 2003
Hi, Claire,

I work part-time as a selector for the New York City Teaching Fellows, an organization that selects people from other fields to teach in under-resourced classrooms. Our selection model involves using a rubric to grade each applicant during the different parts of the Interview Day. The rubric includes things like "Critical Thinking", "Commitment", and "Constant Learning." (I could get you the full criteria if you want.) Then we have several facets to the interview day that help us to see different things about the candidates: a five-minute teaching sample, a discussion group (with other candidates) about a scenario, a writing sample (about another scenario), and a personal interview.

It's pretty intensive (probably too much for your purposes), but I think it's nice to see candidates in all their various "lights". If I were to modify it or your group, I might do a discussion group around a scenario involving helping a new teacher, and a follow-up one-on-one interview to focus on areas of concern. I find giving scenarios (What would you do if...?) in the personal interview particularly helpful to get at how candidates problem-solve and act in different situations....

Hope this helps!

Marika Paez
New York City
January 16, 2003
Claire,

One of the many ways that Fairfax County supports beginning teachers is through the use of retired teachers as mentors. Tina Yalen proposed this model several years ago when she was a TNPI fellow, and her proposal was published two cycles ago, I believe.

Gail V. Ritchie
Fairfax County, VA
January 16, 2003
Claire,

I know a couple of retired instructors who have worked in our feeder pattern-I'll contact them and see if they are interested or know anyone else who is interested.

Pam Bausher
Miami
January 17, 2003
Hi Claire, how are you?

I'm getting to you rather late on this and I just reread some of the great suggestions you've received--there are a couple I'd add.

I work with a project to support new teachers in NYC. I am in the schools as a site facilitator for 2 years. A crucial component of the project is to get coach teachers, who are school based classroom teachers, on board to build the school's capacity to support new teachers without an outside facilitator.

The way we select them is that they basically self-select by doing the work. We find the teachers who are actually already supporting new teachers in informal or formal ways, and help set up ways to make them more effective like creating seminars and other P.D. opportunities for them on subjects like peer coaching, convening study, critical friends, and support groups as well as other things they ask for. We give them loads of support at the school level and outside.

I realize that with retired people, it is difficult to do it the way we do, but I would definitely find out how your retired mentors have worked with new teachers in their schools and if they felt successful--maybe even get references from new teachers they previously worked with.

Also, and perhaps more difficult, is to look for those less tangible qualities that we've found pretty important: are they learners themselves, are they willing to be reflective about their own mentoring, do they remember what it was like to be new, and are they compassionate?

I do have more to suggest, but this is getting so long! Let me know if you want to know more and we'll talk not on the listserv! I can send you some info about our coach teachers and how we support them too if you want. –

Judi Fenton
New York City
January 19, 2003
Cindy,

Some of our best and worst substitute teachers are retired teachers. I suggest you make sure they can mentor using some form of "Coaching" model, which seems to be the best way to help teachers grow in the profession. I would also make sure they understand the current teaching context, which we know has changed a great deal over the past 10 years.

Sheryn Northey
Charlotte, NC
January 20, 2003
Claire,

On the topic of mentoring, I'd like to address what I'm experiencing as a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). One of the five foundation philosophies considered to be a critical aspect of our practice is that "Teachers are members of learning communities".

NBCT's encourage collaboration with other professionals, such as new teachers and colleagues. So that we can help the new struggling professional, Teacher Education Center (TEC) workshops have been developed. Sessions are offered not only after school, but also on Saturdays. Dade County also has an on-line support group.
What I'm getting at is that help is available from many NBCT across Dade County--however, participation by new teachers outside of the daily school schedule is minimal (from the experience of most NBCT). Keeping this point in mind is important because sucess is attainable only when schools or regions change the way schools are organized. The creation of lead teachers (NPCT) positions is important. In this way we have the authority and autonomy to engage in professional development activities at the school site--even better still --with the teacher as she is teaching!

Regards,

Ileana Vazquez
Miami
January 20, 2003
Thank you to everyone who sent such wonderful suggestions to help us with our teacher mentoring program. Thanks to Pam and Ileana, Gail, Marika, Sheryn, Judi, and Suzanne. All your information and ideas will be part of our planning and implementation.

Gail, I would like to get more information about the program by Tina Yolen. Do you have her paper? Can I get a copy? Can you explain how it is set up?

Sheryn, your comment about retired teachers being some of the best/ worst subs was very valid. I appreciate your suggestions.

Suzanne, Your idea about looking for teachers with more than one certification was an interesting one. It would imply a commitment to learning. I also agree that a diverse background is an advantage. Our program will not be run by the county, and our mentors will only be paid (possibly) through a grant we are writing. Therefore their responsibility will be to the beginning teacher and not the principal. You are so right; we do not want clones of our mentors, but strong, successful, new teachers. We will be careful.

Judi, Your program sounds wonderful. I will e-mail you for more information.

Marika, Your program sounds terrific. I would appreciate more information on your selection rubric. I'm sure your program is more intense than ours, but we can modify some of your guidelines. Maybe we can incorporate the discussion group idea as part of the interview process.

Again thank you all for your support and great suggestions.

Claire Price
Miami
January 20, 2003
Claire,

I am really enjoying reading and learning from the current discussion about mentoring. As Gail mentioned last week, here in Fairfax County, we are using retired teachers as mentors (part-time) to provide instructional support to new teachers. This is a neat "TNPI success story."

Gail mentioned Tina Yalen on her message to the listserv. Tina was a TNPI Fellow in Fairfax during the 1996-1997 school year (she retired 4 years ago). Several Fairfax TNPI Fellows that year focused their research on new teacher mentoring and induction. Tina's action research is titled, The Retired Master Teacher as Mentor: Meeting a National Need. Two years later when I became a Fellow, my research also focused on induction and mentoring. TNPI policy recommendations suggested using outstanding teachers to serve as coaches/mentors as a compliment to the new teacher mentoring and induction programs that were already firmly in place in our district. These recommendations were incorporated into the county's thrust in what is now called the Great Beginnings: Mentor Resource Teacher Program (MRT). The MRT program is now in its 4th year and continues to impact both teacher practice and student achievement (indicated by surveys and mentor visits to classrooms). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to pilot the MRT program full time during the 99-00 school year. When we expanded the following year, Tina Yalen joined us as an MRT!

MRT’s are either outstanding retired teachers from our district or are teachers who are on a leave of absence from our district. MRT's work part-time and are provided with both initial and ongoing professional development. Each MRT works with novice teachers to create a unique set of goals/supports that meet individual teacher needs. The MRT program is a part of the district-wide mentoring program--therefore, MRT’s are not connected to the teacher evaluation program in any way.

Robyn Cochran
Fairfax County, VA
January 23, 2003

Tina's paper is available at this link from the Teachers Network page: http://www.teachersnetwork.org/tnli/research/TPNTI/Yalen/index.htm
 
Robyn,

Thank you for this valuable information on your teacher mentor program in Fairfax. Miami's group will surely use the information from your study. This is exactly the kind of program we are attempting to initiate here in Miami. Again, thanks for sharing.

Barbara Hampton
Miami
January 23, 2003
The program Robyn described is one part of our support for beginning teachers. Our staff development team, with Robyn leading this, has developed this service over several years. We want to integrate our services to beginning teachers. Hope this helps those of you who are interested in this. You might also be interested in a staff development article we prepared about our teacher leaders.
Sylvia Auton
Fairfax County, VA
January 24, 2003
Hi, Claire (and everyone),
I wrote to our director of selection about forwarding you the rubric for our selection model. He said I couldn't give you the direct names of the "Competencies", as we call them, but the information below should be almost as helpful. Let me know if you have more questions...
Marika Paez
New York City
January 25, 2003

The New Teacher Project believes that the most important determinant of teachers' success is the nature of their fundamental personality and character traits. We have developed a very specific, manageable list of selection criteria that identify and define as comprehensively as possible the character and personality traits that, regardless of the individuals' experience or training in education, we have found our most successful teachers to have. These traits include the following leadership qualities:
  • Achievement in past endeavors
  • Strong writing, thinking, and speaking skills
  • Evidence of constant learning
  • Ability to maintain a sense of perspective in difficult situations
  • Sensitivity and respect for others
  • Commitment to under-resourced schools and communities
  • Belief in high expectations for all students

Hi Robyn,

Thanks for all the information about your MRT program. It sounds wonderful. I know both the mentors and the beginning teachers must benefit. Can you tell me how it is funded? Do the mentors get paid? Who does the training of the mentors? Thank you for including the information on Tina's paper. Your support is much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Claire Price
Miami
January 28, 2003
 

 

Come across an outdated link?
Please visit The Wayback Machine to find what you are looking for.

 

Journey Back to the Great Before