This week I chose an article that aligns with my professional growth. This coming school year will be my 3rd year of teaching. After reflecting on our weekly class reading and participating on some online group discussion I began thinking about how we prepare individuals to become teachers. I reflected on my own experience and what I found to be beneficial/detrimental. As such I thought this article titled How Can Schools Support Beginning Teachers? A Call for Timely Induction and Mentoring for
Effective Teaching, would be fitting.
I was first drawn to the article because the introduction very accurately covers what a first year teachers experience is often like. Its aim is to convey to readers why there is a need, but this section also for me was an affirmation that this is totally normal. The portions that stand out to me were first there is a gap between theory and actual implementation in a classroom. This got me wondering what in reality is really stick from years of education and what is lost in translation trying to, “survive” your first year teaching. Secondly the emphasis on expectation stood out to me. As a first year teacher the expectation and demand is the same as veteran teachers who have had years to fine tune their skill. As such I believe that additional support is needed. But what does that really look like?
This article state that major contributing factors to success are mentoring for effective teaching, quality preparation and careful selection of mentors. Careful selection of mentors includes not only strong teachers who exhibit qualities of being a good teacher, but also teachers who are trained on how to be an effective mentor. This article goes on to talk about how one mentor is not as effective as a whole school approach. Each professional within the school can offer assistance with different areas they are best at. I am fortunate to be at a school with a lot of support and I think this whole school mentality would be extremely beneficial. Making a connection to our course learning the social nature of the whole school approach would allow for increasingly more growth than a traditional mentoring model.
The article then goes on to discuss the three biggest causes of burnout of new teachers. Lack of appreciation from students, lack of professional recognition, and lack of collaboration. I personally can attest to the importance of having a supportive and collaborative team and how much it helps as a first year teacher. This section concludes by adding that in order for steps to be taken to fix these things first year teachers must be asked their opinion on school support and need for change. I thought that was so interesting and definitely necessary. Getting teacher opinions on how support in currently lacking and what would be the most helpful seems like the best way to initiate meaningful change.
Their findings were that individual teachers felt that their needs for support differed from person to person. Although it is a subjective experience there were some common themes, “managing student behavior, creating a work-life balance, in which resilience strategies needed to be part of the preserve teacher development, including problem-solving techniques, and ways to manage people within the work environment”. I thought the following image was a powerful summary of way in which first year teachers could be supported.
As we get closer and closer to beginning a new school year I plan on passing this along to my principal. Hopefully this will help myself and others to aid all the first year teachers’ e come into contact with!
#ds106 and #ILT5340