In Finders and Keepers, Susan Moore Johnson profiles three teacher- induction programs that she says illustrate the kinds of support new teachers need to survive the first few years on the job. The schools featured are Brookline (Mass.) High School, Evanston (Ill.) Township High School, and Murphy Elementary School in Boston.
Hiring teachers in the spring, holding orientations over the summer to introduce new teachers to the culture and policies of the school, offering seminars and retreats for new teachers, and allowing them time to observe experienced teachers at work are some of the ways these schools focus on the needs of their classroom novices.
While located in very different communities, the three programs have the following five characteristics in common:
They are based at the school and don’t rely on “large, district-sponsored meetings.”
- They are integrated into the professional life of the school, so that they benefit both new and experienced teachers.
- They are constantly changing and being refined to fit the changing needs of the school and the new teachers.
- They depend on additional resources, such as release time for mentors and stipends for new teachers who attend summer training.
- They develop and rely on professional experience at the school. While often launched by individuals, these programs succeed because of the support of other members of the staff.
A version of this article appeared in the May 26, 2004 edition of Education Week as Supporting Teachers