Standard 7.2: Ongoing collaboration and networking
Effective practice includes formal support and networking opportunities for beginning teachers. This includes ensuring consistent contact time between the mentor and the beginning teacher. Critical to the success of beginning teachers are opportunities for face-to-face meetings, classroom demonstrations, classroom observations, and peer-group interaction. The systematic opportunity for regular contact supports the teacher both professionally and socially in the school environment. Also, program leadership should design a process to monitor the mentor/beginning teacher match and make adjustments if needed. The following should be provided:
- Time for the mentor and beginning teacher to meet face-to-face on a regular basis for the purpose of professional learning, problem solving, and mutual support
- Time to work in his or her classroom with his or her mentor
- Opportunities to interact in beginning teacher-only peer groups. These opportunities should be planned and facilitated; however, they should not be facilitated by anyone who might possibly be evaluating the beginning teachers. Some programs use third- or fourth-year teachers to facilitate these meetings because they have more experience in the classroom but also remember what issues first- and second-year teachers face. Topics should be chosen based on the needs expressed by beginning teachers. These groups could include teachers from one building or across an entire district or program.
- Opportunities to network with mentors and/or grade-level/content teams
- Professional development that supports student learning based on needs of beginning teachers (See section 7.3)
- Opportunities for beginning teachers to observe veteran teachers