New teacher mentoring

Published 8:42 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

Over the last few years, the media has reported that America’s teacher shortage will continue to grow.

Numerous reasons have been cited for this impending shortage, including the stress of the job, disillusionment, and the loss of professional autonomy due to national testing. Already, area districts have begun to see a decline in the total number of applicants for jobs. Austin Public Schools, recognizing that we need to do whatever we can to support our new teachers, has begun working to refine our new teacher mentoring program to address the issues that they face.

Edwina Harder
APS Principal on Special Assingment

This year, new teachers were asked to attend three days of specialized training before the rest of the staff returned for the 2017-2018 year.  This training included important topics such as Human Resources information (i.e. how do I report an absence, where do I go for certain supports), technology information (i.e. programs that we use), and an overview of the Austin Public Schools Instructional Model.  A day was spent focusing on how to best work with students instructionally. New teachers were then given time to work with their building instructional coach on planning.

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In addition to district initiatives, every building has its own set of goals that scaffold to them. New staff take part in all building trainings throughout the year to ensure they are knowledgeable about these areas.  Building staff development occurs during back to school week, after school hours, and early release/professional development days.

A new feature this year in our New Teacher Development, a once a month after-school training on topics that would pertain specifically to new staff. Topics covered this year have included sheltered instruction (especially effective for English learners) and student engagement strategies. Upcoming topics include a deeper dive into technology and how it is used to enhance instruction as well as classroom management strategies. New staff are surveyed to determine other topics that may be of interest.

New teacher mentoring is something that we hope will help staff feel more prepared for and successful in their daily work. We will continue to learn about the needs our teachers have and work to help them in those areas.  Ultimately, we hope that by focusing on new teacher mentoring we will help our staff know that we are committed to them and rooting for their success, which in turn will results in the students of Austin Public Schools being served in the best way possible.