Induction of Beginning Educators
Teacher Induction Programs
What is an Induction Program?
Why are Induction Programs Needed?
What are the Massachusetts Standards for Teacher Induction Programs?
The intent of a teacher induction program is to provide a systematic structure of support for beginning teachers. A comprehensive induction program may include components such as:
New teacher orientation: An orientation program begins the comprehensive induction program. It provides an opportunity to learn key information about the district and school.
Mentoring relationships: The mentoring relationship provides the beginning teacher with an opportunity to work closely with and learn from a veteran teacher. The mentoring relationship is shaped by the activities that the beginning teacher and mentor participate in together. Release time is a necessary part of the mentoring relationship as it enables mentoring activities such as observation, co-teaching, and lesson planning to take place.
Support teams: The purpose of the support team is to link the beginning teacher with a network of veteran teachers, in addition to their mentor, that they can rely on for assistance and guidance.
Workshops and training for beginning teachers: Beginning teacher workshops and training are professional development opportunities that are specifically designed for the beginning teacher. This professional development provides the beginning teacher with vital information on topics that are relevant to them during their first year in the classroom.
Workshops and training for mentors: Mentors need to receive training in the skills of effective mentoring prior to their assignment to a beginning teacher as well as opportunities to meet with one another to share successes and trouble-shooting strategies. These opportunities are an important part of the mentor's professional development.
Evaluation: In order for beginning teachers to gain an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and to grow professionally, it is important for the teacher to participate in a formal evaluation administered by a supervisor. The beginning teacher, as well as the mentor, should be aware of the standards and processes by which the new teacher will be evaluated. The standards of the evaluation will form a "curriculum" for the joint work of the mentor and beginning teacher throughout the school year.
A teacher induction program can help new teachers improve practice, learn professional responsibilities and ultimately positively affect student learning. In addition to providing support to beginning teachers, these programs allow veteran teachers to reflect upon practice and can unite the learning community as each individual works toward the same goal - improving the quality of education. Induction programs also have the potential of elevating the teaching profession and fostering a collaborative learning community for all educators. These benefits can lead to a much higher rate of retention, as new educators find themselves in an environment that cultivates continual growth and success.
The 1993 Education Reform Act [Chapter 71, Section 38G] and the Massachusetts Regulations for Educator Licensure [603 CMR 7.00] require districts to provide a system of support for beginning educators in the form of an induction program. The regulations link licensure and induction programs by making participation in such a program one of the requirements for the Professional License. As a result, districts need to provide an induction program to all educators in their first year of practice. The regulations also outline the basic components that every Massachusetts' district induction program should have in place.
Districts are encouraged to develop programs that meet the spirit of the statute and the basic standards included in the regulations while taking into account their own district needs and characteristics. District induction programs should include, at a minimum, the following components:
- An orientation program for beginning teachers and all other incoming teachers.
- Assignment of all beginning teachers to a trained mentor within the first two weeks of teaching.
- Assignment of a support team that shall consist of, but not be limited to, the mentor and an administrator qualified to evaluate teachers.
- Release time for the mentor and beginning teacher to engage in regular classroom observations and other mentoring activities. [603, CMR 7.12 (2)]
While the regulations took effect on October 1, 2001, it is the Department's expectation that districts are developing their programs and that most induction programs will be implemented with the start of the 2002-2003 school year. The Department remains committed to ensuring that districts as well as beginning and veteran teachers receive the information and support that they need to create and participate in quality induction programs throughout Massachusetts.
A number of resources are provided on this web page that your district may choose to take advantage of in planning, developing, or improving your induction program.