Teaching is one of the toughest jobs around.
When new teachers graduate and begin teaching, sometimes the environment and the responsibility and the finesse that goes along with teaching well can be extremely overwhelming.
That is why the idea of an induction year has been introduced in such places as Switzerland, France, China, New Zealand, and Japan and has been met with success across the board!
So, what is an induction year? It is when a novice teacher, instead of going straight into heading their own classroom, can instead shadow and be mentored by a seasoned, more experienced teacher for a year or two.
To have a thorough and successful induction of a new teacher, a few factors must be put in place:
- Trained or seasoned mentors who can provide invaluable feedback and advice
- An environment to observe and analyze classroom best practices
- Limited workload as to not overwhelm and encourage observation
- Cooperative planning time with senior teacher
- Opportunities outside the classroom to further education: seminars and literature on a variety of teaching-related topics
Sounds like a great way to prepare new teachers, right? So why aren’t all countries adopting this way of educating and supporting their teachers?
It comes down to resources. It takes time to be mentored and to mentor someone. For this induction to work properly, there needs to be time in a day to discuss teaching and the challenges that come with it. Without this meaningful discussion, the new teacher will lose a lot of valuable feedback.
It also takes a good mentor, not just a seasoned teacher, to truly teach a new teacher. And to be a good mentor, training is likely required, adding to the time spent dedicated to this induction venture. It has been shown that induction is most effective over long periods of observation and analysis and critique.