Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Ideas to Support and Celebrate New Teachers

It's that time of the year when school is starting and a new crop of teachers are joining the teaching ranks.  

Richard Ingersoll is a professor of Education and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and he does a lot of research in the area of teacher recruitment, retention, and the teaching force. 

In the National Teacher Principal Survey of 2015-16, he tells us that there are more beginning teachers than before and that teaching has a higher attrition rate than police officers. 

How to support new teachers

Knowing these statistics, we've got to be intentional in our schools about providing support to our new teachers. 

How can school leaders support new teachers and impact retention? The four items below are from an Edweek article titled, "What do Beginning Teachers Really Need?"

1. Being accessible. Can I walk to his/her office door and have a quick word?
2. Being instructional. Is he/she sharing strategies that help me be a better teacher in my classroom?
3. Being protective. Does he or she “have my back” if a parent is angry or a student is disrupting class?
4. Being communicative. Am I always aware of what’s going on, or do I hear things first from students or from the community?

I worked with a team of experienced teachers to create a new teacher orientation experience that would allow our new teachers to get to know each other, get to know me, and walk away with practical knowledge that they would need to have a smooth start to the school year. 

new teacher ice breaker
We modeled "Get to know you" activities with our new teachers that could be easily implemented during the first few days of school.

new teacher activities
Teachers worked in groups to solve clues for the building scavenger hunt. 

new teacher activities
An experienced teacher guided them through the building, and they picked up office supplies at every other stop.

new teacher activities
We invited "newish" teachers (3 years or less experience at our school) to talk about how to survive floating, tips for success, and what they wish they had known before taking the job.

As another layer of support in our new teacher program, each new teacher is assigned a mentor. It is generally someone in their PLC or department, and it's a person who is organized, caring, supportive, and passionate about teaching. 

During the year, I hold small group meetings during teacher off periods where we discuss parent communication, culturally responsive classrooms, personal wellness, classroom management, and more. 

new teacher activities

One of my favorite events this year was our "New Teacher Signing Day."

new teacher signing day

new teacher signing day

The news covered the event, just like they do when our athletes sign college scholarships.

new teacher signing day

new teacher signing day

new teacher signing day

It was a huge hit with our entire staff, especially our "signees." It's a tradition that we'll continue every year!

Share your ideas for supporting and celebrating new teachers. You can leave me a comment below or reach out to me on twitter


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