Monday, September 19, 2011

New Teacher Orientation ideas and questions


I'm working on my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership (I already have one in Educational Technology) and my current course is "Developing Teachers." In this course we are looking at recruiting, training, and retaining teachers and this week we are looking at new teacher orientation programs.

When I started, the new teacher orientation program was three days before the rest of the teachers came in. We had talks from each department, received the curriculum for our class, and had some various presentations on different topics. The current new teacher orientation program is similar, but also has the new teachers meeting together once a month throughout the year for more training and support.

Some of the things that I felt were lacking and some of the new teachers from last year also thought were missing:

1. Orientation to computer systems - making sure every teacher has a login for the computers, email, and student information system and then having training on how to use them all. It is very minimal right now.

2. More information about special education services and how the process works.

3. A list of "people to go to" for different issues, such as computer problems, supply needs, and so forth.

4. List of services available to students - special education, social work, health and medical, etc.

5. More on classroom management that specifically addresses the policies of the district rather than being general.

6. Instead of just handing out the curriculum, provide time to look over the curriculum and then have someone from that department to help you with any issues, especially with the material for the first month of school.

7. They currently get an afternoon to go to their building and start setting up their rooms, but it would be nice to have time with the department chair, to look over your classroom, get a tour of the building and get shown where resources and offices are. Currently, it is up to each school to try to fit in a tour when time permits and I think it should be a formal part of the orientation program.

8. A new teacher orientation booklet with all resources, expectations, schedule, rules and procedures. Some of this is handed out now, but it is not combined into a comprehensive book. It probably wouldn't hurt to have this available for all teachers, especially when there have been changes made to policies and procedures from the previous year.

9. The realities of the school system - budget issues, student behavior, buildings, etc. It can be a shock to many new teachers coming out of college with their idealistic views to suddenly run head on into the reality of run down schools, no supplies or resources, student discipline issues, lack of parental support, and other realities of teaching. 

What does your district's new teacher orientation program look like? What do you think should be in a new teacher orientation program?

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