01 SES 05 A, Novice Teachers: Support and Opportunities
The first year of teaching is known as a pivotal one in teachers' decisions to stay in teaching. The desire to support teachers in this phase led many countries, including Israel, to offer various types of induction and mentoring programs (Ingersoll & Strong, 2014). These programs are defined as a collective of programs involving orientation, support, and guidance for beginning teachers (Kearney, 2014). Despite the great variance which exists among induction programs, the desired outcomes of such programs are similar: they are expected to alleviate the pressures that beginning teachers face (Long et al. 2012; Wojnowski, Bellamy, & Cooke, 2003); to facilitate the transition from pre-service university training to the teaching profession (Serpell, 2000); to socialize beginning teachers into the school system and to lower attrition rates among beginning teacher (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). With these goals in mind, research has shown that effective induction programs share several characteristics (Kearney, 2014). They include the provision of a mentor, opportunities for peer collaboration, professional support and professional networking, intensive workplace learning, reduced teaching loads, structured observations, and formal assessment and evaluation. These characteristics could be categorized into three main support mechanisms: organizational, professional, and social, which are provided by three school partners: the school management, colleagues, and the mentor teacher. Yet, what seems to be lacking in this categorization is emotional support, which is greatly needed in the first year of teaching (Chang, 2009). In addition, research has shown that there exists some lack of understanding regarding how to develop and implement effective programs (Kearney, 2014) and that the desired expectations of induction programs are not always met (Long et al. 2012).
The purpose of the current research was, therefore, to investigate the effectiveness of the following three types of support mechanisms - organizational, professional, and emotional, on the effectiveness of the induction program. Effectiveness was defined by two measures: the satisfaction of the new teacher from the induction year and whether they continued teaching in the following year after the induction.
The research was conducted in the Israeli education system which suffers from teacher attrition with one out of four teachers leaving the profession in the first five years; half of them after the first year (Arviv-Elyashiv & Zimmerman, 2015; Central Bureau of Statistics, 2015). To reduce the attrition rate of beginning teachers and to facilitate their socialization into the teaching profession, an induction year became a mandatory requirement for entering teaching in Israel. During this year, every new teacher is mentored and supervised by a veteran teacher who is appointed by the school principal. Schools are also required to provide different types of support mechanisms that would enable the new teachers to succeed and remain in teaching. These mechanisms are organizational (e.g. providing administrative support), professional (e.g. implementing and assuring an ongoing formative evaluation process throughout the year), and emotional (e.g. providing a caring and accepting atmosphere) (Ministry of Education, 2015).
Two research questions were posed: (1) What is the contribution of different school partners – mentor, management, colleagues to the satisfaction from the induction year and to the retention rate in the year following the induction program? (2) What is the contribution of different support mechanisms – organizational, professional, emotional to the satisfaction from the induction year and to the retention rate in the year following the induction program?
An online self-report questionnaire was sent at the end of the 2018 academic year to a nation-wide population of 15,408 teachers throughout the country that were in their induction year during the years 2015-2018. Data records were obtained from the Teaching Entry Division at the Ministry of Education. Responses were gathered from 2,710 inductees (18% response rate). The questionnaire included open and closed Likert-scale items that covered the following: personal background information (8 items); information regarding the schools where the induction took place (7 items); the recruitment phase (15 items); the mentor teacher – teaching the same subject, communication, observation, feedback (11 items); support mechanisms provided by the mentor, management and colleagues (20 items); satisfaction from the induction year (3 items); and retention in the education system after the induction year (3 items). Validity and reliability measures were checked using factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha. Data analysis included a series of regression models (linear and logistic) as well as structural equation modeling. The dependent variables were the satisfaction of the novice teachers from the induction year and their retention rate in the following year. Independent variables included the support mechanisms which were provided by the mentor, management, and colleagues – these included administrative support, professional support, and emotional support. Additional independent variables were personal background information (e.g. whether the teacher taught a school subject that he/she was trained for) and school background information (e.g. type of school where the induction took place).
Results of the regression analysis showed that all three partners involved in the induction process significantly contributed to the satisfaction of the inductees from this year explaining 45% of the total variance. The management board played the most significant role in explaining this variance, the second was the teaching staff and the last was the mentor teachers. This finding contradicts the recurrent claim of mentoring being the most important support mechanism of the novice teacher in the first year of teaching. Rather, it points to the vital role that school management plays in supporting new teachers. Results also showed that out of the three support mechanisms, the most influential one was the emotional support, followed by the professional. The organizational support mechanisms did not significantly explain the variance of teachers' satisfaction. This finding emphasizes the emotional difficulties and the emotional overflow experienced by teachers in their first year of teaching, as well as the strong need for assistance precisely in this aspect that is often unexplored and not emphasized enough in teacher work. As to the retention rate – these were directly affected by the level of satisfaction from the induction year, by whether the new teachers taught the subjects they were trained for, and by their teaching loads. Retention was indirectly related to the support mechanisms provided by the management, mentor, and colleagues. The presentation will elaborate on these findings and will discuss their implications for school policy and for building a school culture that aims at successfully recruiting and retaining beginning teachers.
Arviv-Elyashiv, R. & Zimmerman, V. (2015). Who is the dropout teacher? Demographic, professional and organizational characteristics of dropout teachers. Dapim, 59, 175-206. [Hebrew] Central Bureau of Statistics (2015). New Teachers Dropping Out of the Educational System 2000-2014. Israel: Jerusalem. Chang, M. L. (2009). An appraisal perspective of teacher burnout: Examining the emotional work of teachers. Educational psychology review, 21(3), 193-218. Ingersoll, R. M. & Smith, T. M. (2004). Do teacher induction and mentoring matter? NASSP bulletin, 88(638), 28-40. Ingersoll, R. M. & Strong, M. (2011). The impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for beginning teachers: A Critical review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 201-233. Kearney, S. (2014). Understanding beginning teacher induction: A contextualized examination of best practice. Cogent education, 1(1), 967477. Kearney, S. (2015). Reconceptualizing beginning teacher induction as organizational socialization: A situated learning model. Cogent Education, 2(1), 1028713. Long, J. S., S. McKenzie-Robblee, L. Schaefer, P. Steeves, S. Wnuk, E. Pinnegar, and D. J. Clandinin. (2012). Literature review on induction and mentoring related to early career teacher attrition and retention. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 20 (1), 7–26. Serpell, Z. (2000). Beginning teacher induction: A review of the literature. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Wojnowski, B. S., Bellamy, M. L., & Cooke, S. (2003). A review of literature on the mentoring and induction of beginning teachers with an emphasis on the attrition and renewal of science teachers. In J. Rhoten & B. Powers (Eds.), Science teacher attrition: Mentoring and renewal (pp. 23–33). Washington, DC: National Science Teachers Association.
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