Source: Mandel Center
The quality of a school depends on the quality of its teachers. Finding promising teachers is an ongoing challenge for many school leaders, and keeping them is even more challenging. New teachers leave Jewish day schools at alarming rates, creating what has been called a "revolving door" of educators. The Induction Partnership Project at the Mandel Center and the New Teacher Center's Jewish New Teacher Project have published a joint position paper in which they offer an image of the kind of new teacher induction that transforms the educational experiences of teachers and their students by establishing a professional, motivated, effective faculty.
Among the positions taken in the paper:
"We see the first few years on the job as a special phase in the profession, during which novices are learning to teach while taking responsibility for successfully teaching a cohort of students in a particular school context. This phase presents schools with a valuable opportunity to support the development of novice teachers’ practice and instill the habits of continuous learning and professional collaboration. Therefore we advocate multi-year induction programs that tap experienced colleagues to address new teachers’ unique learning needs, their developing pedagogical skill, and their acculturation into the school’s professional community.
We believe that mentoring that provides beginning teachers with instructional as well as emotional support is the cornerstone of effective induction. In these working relationships, sometimes called “educative” or “instructional” mentoring, mentors and beginning teachers collaborate on authentic issues of practice that impact student learning. Therefore mentoring is a form of individualized, ongoing professional development with a strong emphasis on novice teachers’ instructional growth.
Mentors cannot provide support and assistance to their novice mentees without adequate time to do so. That is why both of our organizations advocate strongly that time for mentors and mentees to meet regularly and observe one another’s classrooms be built into the master schedule.
Schools are fast-paced, vibrant places, and teachers are busy. If it is not built into the schedule it is not likely to happen.
We see new teacher induction as a means of motivating, developing and retaining all teachers. A teacher is never finished learning how to teach. Seasoned teachers need opportunities to reflect on their practice, assess themselves against standards, and set goals for growth. Educative mentoring provides such opportunities as mentors learn alongside their mentees."