Each year hundreds of new educators across our state enter the education profession. They come with high hopes and dreams of positively affecting the lives of their students, and of instilling in their students the love of learning that they themselves feel. Unfortunately, research shows that about one-third of these beginning educators leave the profession within the first five years. Most beginning educators indicate the lack of support, isolation, feelings of loneliness and disillusionment, and lack of feeling effective in their jobs as the primary factors for exiting the profession.
Nationally, many school systems are taking steps to improve the way they bring their new educators into the profession. By creating and implementing an induction program, these schools hope to reduce or eliminate the factors that cause beginning educators to leave.
In Maine, action has been taken to ensure quality support of beginning educators by developing a set of standards and indicators for the induction of beginning educators. A rubric has also been developed to guide the development and assessment of district induction programs. Both the standards and the assessment rubric are based on current research related to supporting new educators in the profession and have been revised based on feedback from forty-five school districts across the State of Maine.
The intent of Maine’s educator induction model is to provide a systematic structure of support for beginning educators. Educator induction programs can help new educators improve teaching practice, learn professional responsibilities and ultimately positively affect student learning. In addition to providing support for beginning teachers, these programs allow mentor teachers to reflect upon their own teaching practice and to unite the professional community as each individual works toward the same goal-- improving the quality of education. Induction programs also have the potential to elevate the teaching profession and foster a collaborative learning community for all educators. These benefits can lead to a much higher rate of retention, as new educators find themselves in an environment that cultivates continual growth and success.
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