- Denver Public Schools is implementing a pilot program this coming academic year that will allow six “associate teachers” to teach part-time in high-needs, high-poverty schools serving as “teaching academies” and spend the rest of their time planning, observing and learning from assigned teacher mentors, Chalkbeat reports.
- The effort is designed to help support beginning teachers who are often assigned to some of the toughest teaching situations with little or no support and have a 10% chance of leaving the profession the first year.
- The associate teachers will be paid slightly less while in the role, but the school district hopes that by giving these teachers extra support in high-needs schools that have strong principals, it will save money usually spent on recruiting teachers to replace those that fail.
“Teaching is the only profession that expects its novices to fly solo,” the National Education Association says in its statement about the need to support beginning teachers. Considering the responsibility placed on young teachers and the tremendous impact teachers have on young lives, it makes sense that school districts provide more support to fledgling teachers before expecting them to take on full teaching responsibilities by themselves. Principals need to be trained and prepared for this role and have a firm understanding of what beginning teachers need to succeed.
Supporting entering teachers not only benefits the teachers, but students as well, especially those without the same opportunities as those in more well-off schools. Teachers who have a good support system in place are able to perform better as teachers, which benefits students and the school district as a whole. Giving more experienced teachers a way to mentor and support new teachers is also a way to offer leadership roles.
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 10% of new teachers do not return to teaching the second year and 17% have abandoned the profession by their third year. However, the New Teacher Center’s recently released 2018 Teacher Induction Program Standards provides school leaders with guidelines on how to support to teachers. School administrators and principals may find these and other resources helpful as they strive to give beginning teachers the best chance for success.