Promoting Self-Efficacy in Early Career Teachers: A Principal's Guide for Differentiated Mentoring and Supervision

By Elliott, Elizabeth M.; Isaacs, Madelyn L. et al. | Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Promoting Self-Efficacy in Early Career Teachers: A Principal's Guide for Differentiated Mentoring and Supervision


Elliott, Elizabeth M., Isaacs, Madelyn L., Chugani, Carta D., Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy


Shortages at some schools are not entirely a result of teachers leaving the profession, but are also related to the characteristics of those particular schools. Nationally, approximately 30% of new teachers leave within the first three years; nearly 50% leave within five years (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003). Darling-Hammond (2002) concluded that alternative certification programs tend to produce poor quality teachers and that these teachers were most likely to leave the profession within their first three years. Further, the author found that traditionally prepared teachers were four to five times more likely to remain in their positions. Darling-Hammond, Chung and Frelow (2002) also noted that traditionally prepared teachers felt significantly better prepared than did those prepared through alternative programs or those without preparation. Principals and other building level administrators (i.e. assistant principals or deans) are in a position to address the need for additional supervision and professional development (induction) activities that encourage, support, and retain early career teachers in the first three to five years of service. This study will addresses those issues and provides suggested activities for retention of early career teachers.

Background

In an analysis of the teacher shortage and teacher turnover, Ingersoll (2001) suggested that efforts to curtail the shortage should focus not only on increasing the supply of teachers through recruitment, but also on retaining teachers currently in the system. When examining characteristics of teachers who leave and stay in the field of teaching, Luekens, Lyter, and Chandler (2004) found that the highest percentages of teachers who leave do so within the first three years of teaching. In an effort to retain teachers and promote student achievement, many states have adapted national generic teaching practices, such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards, to represent teacher proficiency. In Florida, state teaching standards are called Educator Accomplished Practices (EAP's). EAP's are based on a continuous quality improvement model that begins with preservice teacher preparation and continues through the educator's professional career, with the intention of promoting student achievement. Districts often design their evaluation tools, new teacher induction programs and professional development plans based on the EAP's. Similar practices are followed nationally.

Howe (2006) conducted an analysis of the most outstanding teacher induction programs in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and New Zealand. He notes that while induction programs and practice did differ by country, exemplary programs emphasized skillful and specially trained mentors, comprehensive inservice training, extended internship programs, reduced teaching assignments and include "opportunities for experts and neophytes to learn together in a supportive environment promoting time for collaboration, reflection, and gradual acculturation into the profession of teaching" (p. 295). Howe further suggests that a key element in successful teacher induction is the provision of time for reflection and opportunities for continued professional development. Smith and Ingersoll (2004) studied the effects of induction activities on teacher turnover in a national sample of first year teachers and found that while many common individual induction activities did not seem to have a statistically significant impact on turnover, receiving an increased number of induction activities or supports was associated with a decrease in rate of turnover. Moreover, the authors note that having a mentor in one's own field, time to collaborate with other teachers, and membership in an outside network of teachers were found to be most effective of the activities studied. They conclude, "teachers participating in combinations or packages of mentoring and group induction activities were less likely to migrate to other schools or to leave teaching at the end of their first year" (p. …

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