Putting induction into practice: a case study of how school context mediates induction policies and practices

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather Higgins (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Barbara Levin

Abstract: This study describes beginning teacher support and retention in four high schools in a large school district in North Carolina. State and district policies mandate that all beginning teachers receive multiple layers of mentor support, including district mentors, school-level mentors, school buddies, and school Induction Coordinators. Little is known about how individual schools enact the induction policies set forth by the district, or about individual teacher’s response to the activities within a given school context. This qualitative research study on the nature of the implementation of induction at four different high school sites and beginning teachers’ experiences in these contexts during their first two years provided information about the kinds of support that beginning teachers need and receive, and the impact that induction practices had on their decisions to stay, move to another school, or leave the profession. Data collection from 25 first and second year teachers and 13 Support Providers (district administrators, school administrators, mentors, and Induction Coordinators) provided evidence regarding what factors were helpful to them for transitioning into their professional roles and what factors most influenced their decisions to stay or leave. The general research question for this study is: “How do participants (Support Providers and beginning teachers) involved with induction perceive the relationship between school context, support, and teacher retention at their respective schools?” Two specific research and several sub-questions guided this study: 1) How do participants perceive support for beginning teachers at their schools? *How do they perceive the implementation of induction policies and practices at their schools? *How do participants perceive other types of support at their schools? 2) Why do some beginning teachers choose to leave, and why do some beginning teachers choose to stay in their schools? *How do participants perceive support needs in relationship to the unique needs of their school? *How do participants perceive retention for beginning teachers at their schools? The research found that Support Providers and Beginning Teachers cited similar sources of support for beginning teachers, including induction-related activities, mentors, administrators, and colleagues. Some teachers found induction supports cumbersome, time consuming, and misaligned to their needs. Support Providers reported that a primary role in support of beginning teachers was to provide a menu of options for beginning teachers to choose from. District personnel felt that they set up a strong structure of support for beginning teachers, but that they felt constrained by their case-load to work with schools with large numbers of beginning teachers. All participants felt that beginning teachers who left their school were not adequately prepared for and supported in their particular school environment. Beginning teachers who stayed did so because of their passion for working with their students and satisfaction from seeing students make academic gains, regardless of whether or not they felt supported by their administration. These teachers had a personal commitment to their school and students and felt supported enough to continue in their respective schools. Each of the four schools presented a unique teaching context. As a result, the needs of the beginning teachers varied greatly depending on the school’s needs and their individual preparation and expectations for the role. Induction was embedded in each school’s particular culture, and as a result, district level induction policies played out differently at each school.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Induction, Policy, Retention, Teacher
First year teachers $x Training of $z North Carolina.
Teachers $x In-service training.
Teacher orientation.
Mentoring in education.

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