A positive onboarding experience can help improve teacher retention. Find out what your district can do to improve the process — and hang on to talented educators.
If anybody ever doubted that teaching was a challenging line of work, its retention numbers should quickly set them straight. One in five teachers will leave their respective classrooms within their first five years on the job — a number that reaches nearly 50 percent in urban districts. One essential way to better retain talented educators? A strong teacher induction process.
But how do you provide new teachers with an onboarding experience that will ingrain key skills, prepare them to help 21st-century learners, and ultimately help them find fulfillment in their jobs? We’ve compiled a few innovative approaches to teacher induction that not only meet ESSA’s exacting standards for Professional Development but also help ensure that educators in your district are in it for the long haul.
ESSA specifically states that professional development activities must be “sustained (not standalone, one-day, or short-term workshops).” A truly innovative induction program should go beyond the bare requirements of the law and span several years in order to really make an impact on new teachers.
Two- or three-year training programs ensure that future educators not only learn but internalize the most important components of their training. Longer induction processes also offer more room for a variety of course types, including one-on-one mentoring sessions, collaborative group courses, and building-wide orientation sessions.
Much like today’s classrooms, modern teacher training programs should use a blend of online and face-to-face experiences in their curricula. Obviously, some skills require in-person coaching to learn properly, especially early on in the induction process. But the introduction of web-based lessons and resources adds some needed flexibility to the mix by letting teachers complete their training on their own time.
The other major benefit of a blended induction format is that it helps teachers to understand how students learn in an increasingly connected world. Before administering lessons plans and assigning homework on learning management systems like Schoology and Canvas, teachers should experience them from the perspective of a learner, or they’ll be less empathetic to their students’ learning experiences.
Contemporary standards like Common Core emphasize communication skills and critical thinking over rote memorization. These multifaceted processes require that teachers do more than fill their students’ heads with dates, formulas, and figures: they must teach by doing, modeling creative and collaborative behaviors for students to observe and imitate.
And just as students imitate teachers, teachers should learn to model 21st century skills from observing induction coaches. Before teachers can foster creativity in their students, they must learn to prompt creative answers; before they can expect critical thinking from students, they must be able to design assignments that reflect their ability to think critically. Seeing these skills in practice will help teachers understand how students will mimic and retain them.
Another shift that’s taken place in education in the last two decades is a shift in focus from the curriculum to the student. Educators are expected to provide personalized learning environments so that each student has the resources and conditions they need to succeed in school. A similarly personalized approach is critical to training successful teachers.
The principle behind this approach is simple: let educators learn how to teach and support students in ways that are natural to them, and they’ll be more comfortable and confident in the classroom. Encourage trainees to embrace their personal approach to learning, and they’ll not only have an easier time during the induction process but better able to help students to have an easier time during class.
An innovative and comprehensive induction process does more than make for happier teachers — it saves you hundreds of thousands in recruitment and hiring costs. That’s what makes PD programs from Hoonuit the innovative and practical choice for any district. Our programs are classroom-focused, meaning they allow teachers to personalize their learning experience while remaining compliant with all state and national PD requirements.
Click here to learn more about how Hoonuit Professional Development’s Learn It. Do It. Share It. Prove It. framework can equip your district to train and retain talented educators and reach every student effectively.