School Personnel: Teacher Orientation
Instructor: Charley Kenty
By: Lynn Mendiola, Fatima Manaloto, Anthony Pascoe, Beverly Surla & Catherine Acera-Caberera June 14, 2012
The single most important aspect of a child’s education is the teacher. Søren Kierkegaard (1976) said, “What the teacher is, is more important than what he [or she] teaches” (pp. 236). By working with new teachers we can help remedy the growing difficulty of recruiting and retaining teachers in the education field. New teacher induction programs become a vital piece of the puzzle for improving education standards across the board. When defining orientation or induction (used in this paper synonymously) it is found that the definition has differed little since Veenman’s (1984) conceptualization of induction as the “entry and the planned support the new teachers receive as it occurs” (pp. 165). New teacher inductions take on many roles in a school and district but there a few generalizable roles that are more specific than just recruitment and retention for these programs that most research agrees on. During the process of new teacher induction it is generally hoped that the program will provide the structure for the acquisition of pertinent knowledge, skills, values, and norms of both the teaching profession and the local school community (Alhija & Fresko, 2010). That is, becoming a teacher involved organizational acclimatization as well as professional development on relevant educational topics (Brunton, 2007). Successful integration of teachers into the schools and local communities will facilitate more competent teachers who are committed to remaining in the field Hudson & Beutel, 2005). Alhija & Fresko (2010) note that, “research findings indicate that many new teachers leave the profession after only a few years, many of them because they failed to become sufficiently assimilated (as cited in Dewert, Babinski, & Jones, 2003; Johnson, 2004; Wong, 2004, pp. 1592).
There are many varied but widely accepted approaches to teacher orientation programs, but research shows that a comprehensive, multi-faceted program results in overwhelming positive perceptions and results (Bickmore & Bickmore 2010). Although by no means an exhaustive list, research has shown that the following aspects are regarded as integral parts of a multifaceted teacher induction program: * Individual mentoring by a more experiences or veteran teacher * Ongoing workshops or professional development
* Evaluation of the effectiveness and perceptions of the programs * Orientation seminars
* Administrative support
* Interdisciplinary teams
(Bickmore & Bickmore 2010; Alhija & Fresko, 2010)
Learning new curricula, dealing with classroom management and discipline, integrating students with special needs, using technology, individualizing student programs, coordinating extracurricular activities, and being accountable to the various stakeholders of education are just a few jobs teachers do. The CNMI Public School System seeing a need to nurture the new generation of teachers have put in place the Project Teacher Mentor and Teacher Tea are mentoring ship program and orientation for new teachers. The Project Teacher Mentor program is a nurturing process, in which a skilled person serving as a role model, teachers, sponsors, encourages, counsels, and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting professional development. In addition it helps new teachers learn about the school they are at, improved professional practices, and develop a collaborative community of learners. Individual mentoring by a more experiences or veteran teacher should include mentors that have been trained for the task at hand. The teacher mentors should meet with their novice teacher frequently and on a defined schedule (e.g. once a week) to provide one-on-one support and feedback to new teachers. Often it is useful to keep logs...
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