New Teacher Support
Guest blog post by Susan Summers
Everyone in education knows that the art of teaching is something that develops with time, experience, and training. Whether new teachers are coming to your building directly from student teaching or with years of service in another district, support from their administrators and the master teachers who are now their colleagues will ensure a smooth transition and help them to achieve success in the classroom.
This support should begin as soon as your offer of employment has been accepted. Put together a welcome packet that provides the new teacher with the resources needed to become part of your community. Share some options for finding a place to live, such as a list of apartments recommended by your staff or the names of endorsed realtors. Provide the new teacher with information about places to dine, local sports and entertainment options, child care facilities, and anything else that will help them to get to know their new hometown. Have everyone in your building, including custodians, secretaries, cafeteria staff, classroom aides and teachers, help you to put together a New Teacher Handbook, written with the goal of answering all of the questions a new teacher is likely to have during their first year.
Before the school year begins, bring in your master teachers and have them help these rookies prepare for their first day with students. Provide training on all of the technology used in your building, from hardware to digital resources. Have your veterans assist the new teachers with setting up grade books and their learning management system accounts. Have your administrative team talk about the key expectations you have for all of your teachers. Use this “New Teacher Boot Camp” to begin building relationships and a support system for the new teachers to rely on throughout the upcoming year.
Once the school year begins, meet with your new teachers on a regular basis. (At Homestead, we meet with our new hires every two weeks during the first semester and once a month during the second semester.) These meetings should be designed to help new teachers get to know the culture of your building. You should provide them with training on the hot topics and initiatives that your staff has been working on in recent years. Finally, get your new teachers into the classrooms of your master teachers, so that they can observe and learn from your best. All of these things will provide valuable information, ease some of the inevitable first-year stress, and support your new teachers as they successfully complete their first year in your building.
To view some of the resources used with new teachers at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, click here.