Standard 4.6: Program standards for administrators
The induction of beginning teachers into a program needs to be a critical part of the administration’s school improvement plan. Successful induction/mentoring programs ensure the success of beginning teachers and reduce attrition that negatively impacts student learning. Integrating existing professional development initiatives into induction practices is critical for successful mentoring. In addition to cultural and logistical mentoring, the key to a beginning teacher’s success will ultimately be the quality of his or her professional practice.
Full integration of mentoring into a school’s professional development ensures that beginning teachers will be viewed as critical to the success the school. Teachers selected to mentor beginning teachers should be seen as leaders and partners in the school’s success. Developing beginning teachers into contributing and sustained team members is a key factor in a successful school. Mentoring beginning teachers must be seen as an integral part of the school’s improvement plan, not an add-on or after-thought.
Integrating the latest teaching initiatives into the induction/mentoring program can make beginning teachers’ and mentors’ work relationship more reciprocal. Mentor teachers can share their knowledge on how to understand district, state, and federal mandates and integrate them into practice in the classroom. Beginning teachers, having recently completed university programs, can share their knowledge on the latest research-based, educational methods.
Offering regular beginning teacher professional development sends a message that the administration sees the beginning teacher induction/mentoring program as a critical component of the beginning teacher’s professional growth. Offering topics that directly addresses teaching practice gives beginning teachers and mentors even more incentive to participate in the induction/mentoring program.
The Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) makes teacher evaluation more rigorous and includes the teacher’s continuous professional development, reflective practice, as well as student growth. This type of professional development should be integrated into a comprehensive induction/mentoring program. As principals become more adept at discerning the subtle differences between “proficient” and “distinguished” classroom instruction and other domains in the Danielson Framework, they share a clearer vision of teaching excellence and better articulate pathways for all their teachers—both novice and veteran—to achieve that vision.