Giving Candidates Peer Perspective

By Anthony Rebora — September 29, 2005 1 min read

Schools should give teacher candidates more opportunities to meet and work with current teachers during the hiring process, suggests a recent survey report looking at teacher-retention issues in Boston.

The report, prepared by the Boston Plan for Excellence in Public Schools, surveyed first-year teachers in Boston on their hiring and teaching experiences.

When asked how the hiring process could have better prepared them for their jobs, the teachers in Boston predominantly cited the need for greater interaction with potential colleagues and the day-to-day life of the school.

“Respondents identified wanting to spend more time in a school while in session, participating in classroom observations, shadowing teachers, and sitting in on meetings,” the report says. Such experiences can help teachers “better align expectations with reality” and give them a more well-rounded view of the school.

Similarly, ninety percent of the teachers surveyed cited training from colleagues as the most valuable form of training they received during their first years.

Among the greatest difficulties faced by the teachers, according to the report, were insufficient communication and support from school leaders and lack of clarity about the norms and expectations of the school.

To combat those problems, the report’s authors recommend that principals in Boston be evaluated on their ability to provide helpful feedback and support to teachers.