Editor’s Note: Ellen Moir is New Teacher Center’s Founder and CEO
When students across the country go back to school this year, many will get an inexperienced rookie teacher. The teaching workforce is “greening,” and the most common educator this year is a beginner in his or her first year of teaching. It’s startling but true.
Despite Training, New Teachers Often Struggle
What’s really startling, though, is that many of these bright and energetic beginning teachers will receive nothing more than a student roster and a classroom key. That’s right. Despite the current focus on making sure all educators are effective, we are not setting up new teachers to make a difference, and their students pay the price.
New teachers struggle, too often in isolation, to be the kind of teacher their students so urgently need. Often without effective rules and procedures in place, they will waste valuable teaching time managing student behavior. They will work long hours to meet the profound and distinct needs of their students. They will try to create a positive learning environment where they can promote fairness and respect among students and help them learn to collaborate. Even the most promising new teachers, who learned a lot about effective teaching in preparation programs, won’t be able to fathom how to put that learning into practice. They’ll know their students deserve more.
It’s a sink or swim experience.
Not surprisingly, nearly half of all new teachers in the U.S. leave the profession within five years, just when they would have started to become effective. But it doesn’t have to be like this
New Teacher Center’s Mentor Program
Research shows that when new teachers receive the right support, they are more effective and remain in the profession. What does the right support look like? At New Teacher Center, we call it comprehensive new teacher mentoring and induction. The programs we put in place with school district partners across the U.S. and with some international partners involve the guidance of expert teachers who mentor new teachers and create relevant, timely opportunities for groups of new teachers to learn together. These highly trained mentors work with new teachers in their classrooms, where they can address actual challenges being faced.
Through eMentoring for Student Success (eMSS), we also connect new teachers in rural areas and/or with in-demand specializations with teacher mentors in other parts of the country online, where they can upload and discuss videos of their teaching and access a community forum filled with teaching and subject matter experts. As a result, beginning teachers are able to focus less on day-to-day survival and more on helping their students learn. Simply put, they become better teachers faster.
Unfortunately, not every school district offers this type of intensive, and proven, support to its new teachers – yet.
Partnering With Coursera for Professional Development
With an estimated demand for 350,000 new teachers in the U.S. each year for the next five years, scaling support for them is of critical importance. The good news is that partnering with Coursera gives us another means of delivering on our mission to improve student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders.
We’re offering “First Year Teaching – Success from the Start (Elementary Grades)” and “First Year Teaching – Success from the Start (Secondary Grades)” to help teachers develop the key skills and strategies they need to create positive, productive classroom environments where students thrive. The course is also relevant for anyone interested in exploring a career as a teacher and gaining insight into what the first weeks on the job might look like. We’ll cover how to build relationships with students, establish and maintain behavioral expectations, implement classroom procedures and routines, and use instructional time effectively.
We owe it to our students to ensure they have great teachers at the front of their classrooms, regardless of a teacher’s years of experience, and regardless of a student’s zip code. Ten thousand new teachers have already signed up, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to help more teachers across the country get off to a great start.