Academic journal article International Journal of Applied Educational Studies

Mentoring and Inducting New Teachers into the Profession: An Innovative Approach

Academic journal article International Journal of Applied Educational Studies

Mentoring and Inducting New Teachers into the Profession: An Innovative Approach

Article excerpt

Teacher Mentoring Program: University-School Collaborative Induction Model

Recently, the National Education Association (NEA) has predicted that more than 1 million veteran teachers are nearing retirement while, at the same time, student enrollment continues to rise. Thus, experts expect that within the next decade the United States will need more than 2 million new teachers to fill these positions (NEA, 2008). Statistics regarding the present state of our nation's educators are startling. "Some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years. In urban districts, the numbers are worse--close to 50 percent of newcomers flee the profession during their first five years of teaching (NEA, 2008)."

Though there may be many reasons for teacher attrition and mobility, results from a recent survey conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) seem to suggest that an exceedingly high percentage of teachers who abandoned their careers as teachers may have entered into the teaching profession under-prepared, overwhelmed, and under-supported, resulting in frustrated teachers who became burned out after only a few years of teaching. During the 2003-2004 school year, the NCES conducted the Teacher Follow-Up Survey (TFS) as part of a continued effort to monitor the attrition and mobility rates of all the participants of the previous year's Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). Results indicated that out of 314,900 teachers surveyed, 16 percent of public school teachers and 19 percent of private school teachers had either left the teaching profession entirely, or had begun employment at a different school (NCES, 2007). Research has suggested that many teachers leave the profession due to increasing teacher workloads and the growing demands placed upon teachers to improve student achievement and performance regardless of each school's and each student's unique circumstances (Haberman, 2005). Of the professionals who abandoned their teaching careers to pursue other career prospects, the survey indicated that 65 percent of former public school teachers and 51percent of former private school teachers report that their workload in their new positions seems more manageable than in teaching (NCES, 2007). Additional survey results report that between 20 and 55 percent of all former teachers felt that the general work conditions; availability of resources, materials, and equipment; and support from colleagues, administration, and/or management is better in their current employment positions when compared to their former careers as educators. Fifty seven percent of former public school teachers and 28 percent of former private school teachers reported feeling a greater since of accomplishment in their new places of employment also. Still, the most alarming survey results indicate that 26 percent of former public school teachers and 20 percent of former private school teachers now working outside the field of education believe their opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others increased upon changing professions (NCES, 2007).

Due to the growing level of dissatisfaction among teachers, and the ever increasing trend of teacher attrition, many districts are faced with a teacher shortage at all levels, especially in schools identified as hard to staff (Nelson, 2004). Therefore, if action is not taken to alleviate this growing problem, continued dissatisfaction will only increase teacher attrition, thus exacerbating the problem and inadvertently creating a cycle that is likely to continue threatening the framework of America's education system.

As this trend continues to disrupt the core of America's educational system, it seems imperative that quality instruction for future teachers be placed at the center of our nation's reform efforts in order to combat this problem. At present, many teacher preparation programs overindulge students in the latest theories behind education, leadership, and instruction. …

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