Standard 7.1: Beginning teacher orientation
At or before the start of the school year, developing and delivering an orientation targeted to the needs of beginning teachers is essential to their success. However, this induction support should be available for all teachers who are new to the induction/mentoring program, even if they have experience teaching in other contexts. New-teacher orientations can vary from half a day to an entire week, depending on resources and on whether other orientations are available to the beginning teachers (e.g. an induction/mentoring program run by an ROE may have a short orientation, assuming that beginning teachers will receive more orientation in their home districts or schools).
Orientations should make beginning teachers feel welcome and valued. They are a good time for beginning teachers to bond with each other and with their mentors and other experienced teachers and to develop positive expectations toward their students, schools, colleagues, and district. Orientation leaders can also model behaviors that they expect the beginning teachers will display, including following explicit routines, bell-to-bell teaching, good rapport, and high expectations.
The orientation may include topics such as the following:
- District culture, expectations, and vision
- District expectations with regard to state and national standards, including the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and content standards applicable to the beginning teachers’ area of teaching
- Instructional topics including: classroom management/environment; general instruction, teaching strategies, and pedagogy; working with parents, administrators, and the community; lesson/unit planning and the curriculum; and differentiating instruction
- Information on setting up a classroom and the first days of school
- Expectations for induction/mentoring program participation, including the importance of confidentiality in the mentor/beginning teacher relationship
- Examples of contact logs for mentor/beginning teacher contact
- District discipline policies and beginning-of-the-year classroom management practices
- Teacher evaluation and teacher professional development plans
- District/community resources
- Panel of students, administrators, veteran teachers, or second-year teachers
Orientations should also provide time for beginning teachers to meet with their mentors and collaboratively set up their classrooms or plan lessons. Many orientations include tours of the school, including experienced teachers’ classrooms, and/or bus tours of the community. Some include time for beginning teachers to visit demonstration classrooms in which experienced teachers demonstrate excellent classroom management and other instructional techniques. Also, orientations are excellent times to conduct needs assessments for the beginning teachers; the results can be used to shape future professional development opportunities for beginning teachers.