When Teachers, whether fresh out of a B.Ed. Program or with years of experience, join your School, they need extensive support to settle in quickly. The faster they adapt to the new working environment, the quicker they will be able to settle into their teaching.
What are the challenges?
Teachers face a number of issues while settling into a new environment, and this can possibly affect their productivity. Some of the core issues are:
- Learning to plan: Teachers right out of a B.Ed. program have limited exposure in preparing lesson plans for real-time classrooms. This is a skill which takes time to develop and thus, it serves as a major obstacle for new joiners. Making this activity more stressful is the pressure to complete the curriculum on time. Imagine having a deadline of 2 months to finish 10 chapters for term exams!
- Adjusting to the new environment: Teachers who have relocated or shifted to a different location have to acclimatize to the new place. Stress can accumulate and build up as they search for a new accommodation, understand the geography and understand the students. A teacher might have to work with students from a different curriculum or of a different cultural orientation which could make it more challenging.
- Making a mark: Teachers who have relocated to a newer school need to find their place in the new school setup. This adds an extra sense of stress and powerlessness as one needs to start all over again. This has two dimensions attached to it:
- Social: Building rapport with peers and with a new set of students and their parents,
- Professional: Growing into the new role and adding value to the school management.
- Learning new skills: Fresh B.Ed. graduates, usually have limited working knowledge of the administrative aspect of their teaching job. When confronted with the integral responsibility of evaluating students, awarding grades and so on, it can take a toll on new joiners. This is usually an overlooked aspect of a teacher’s job but marks as one of their KRAs.
How to address this?
Simple! By having senior teachers, who can serve as mentors to the new joiners in the system, your school can promote increased productivity. This can be achieved through a 3 step process:
Like every organization, even a school needs to have an induction session for all its new teachers. Here’s how can you make your induction better:
Make it engaging: Have a group of senior teachers conduct this process through interactive sessions and games. This will not only break the ice but also serve as a possible point for rapport-building between teachers
Discussing the serious stuff: Cover all the evaluation processes in an overview. The details can be introduced over a period of time but the basics like lesson planning, administrative requirements, etc. must be covered.
Providing relevant details: Introduce the different ‘go-to’ people within the school premises, say the admin manager, transport in charge, or anyone else whom the new teachers would be interacting with on a day-to-day basis.
Introduce Professional Development Programs
These programs provide newer teachers with an opportunity to experience a sense of belonging. Through premium professional development programs like UCLA Extension’s Global Career Catalyst (GCC), the following can be achieved:
Increased classroom engagement: They will be better able to integrate subjects and career discussions within the classroom. This helps new teachers in breaking the ice with their students and helps in increased classroom engagement.
Improved rapport with parents: PTA meetings are no longer meet and greets. Today they include more in-depth interaction between teachers and parents. By being able to guide parents in promoting better career decisions for students, a new teacher would be better received by the parents.
A sense of reward: New teachers would feel recognized by the school management by receiving a course completion certificate. The UCLA Extension’s certificate has a certain amount of value attached to it and thus it helps teachers feel valued.
GCC Participants at a Leading School
Provide Mentors for Teachers
In this system, an experienced teacher is usually assigned to a teacher from within or outside the school premises. This system usually follows a longer term (beyond 2 years) and includes planning for the future. It has a number of benefits attached to it:
Constructive Feedback: The mentor usually plays the role of an observer more than that of an evaluator, thus her feedback could resonate more with the new teacher. She would no longer feel that she is being evaluated.
Increased performance: A mentor observes rather than evaluates and can thus help in monitoring progress. A mentor can visit the new teacher’s classes and help in identifying possible areas of improvement, like effective lecture delivery.
Better informed students: The end result of having senior teachers handhold new teachers ultimately translates into better results for students. After gaining exposure, new teachers can bring in effective teaching strategies to the classroom, thus promoting student welfare.
Every school requires quality mentor programs to guide its teachers and students, and thus ensure that the school as a whole transforms into a learning community.
To Know More about how you can introduce Professional Development in your school to create Mentors