Hiring is the First Step of New Teacher Induction
We see hiring as the first step in any teacher's induction to a new school. Therefore, as a school community considers how best to develop and retain excellent teachers, the hiring process is a logical place to start.
What is new teacher induction?
New teacher induction is often defined as structured guidance given to novice teachers in the early stages of their careers. It bridges the gap between teacher preparation and the day-to-day realities of classroom teaching. Research shows that when well-planned and implemented induction is in place, teachers learn to be effective more quickly and are more likely to stay in their schools.
Induction is important because teaching is complex work, and no pre-service training program can fully prepare teachers for the challenges they will face on the job. New teachers need guidance in learning how to plan lessons, deliver content, differentiate instruction, organize their classrooms, communicate with parents, and collaborate with colleagues. Without guidance, many new teachers — even those considered promising — struggle to succeed, are quickly labeled as "weak" and leave or are counseled out. Then schools must start the hiring process all over again. Investing in induction can help promising young teachers thrive, and stop the revolving door of new faculty.
Research confirms that a good teacher is the single most important factor in student learning — more important than class size, dollars spent per student, or the quality of textbooks and materials. An investment in induction is also an investment in good teaching and learning.
How is hiring connected to new teacher induction?
Hiring is the first step of induction: New teachers begin to learn about a school's values and norms the moment they begin the interviewing process. The timing and structure of the interview, the questions they are asked and not asked, and the information they are given all reveal much about the nature of the school. Schools often miss the opportunity to use the hiring process to educate potential hires about the school's mission, values, resources and community. Also, the hiring process at many schools fails to uncover the information that will best help administrators know whether a candidate is likely to succeed in that setting. Often administrators do not realize that they have hired the wrong person or assigned a new hire the wrong classes until well into the school year.
Carefully considering how new teachers in your school are hired may lead to more consistent, informative hiring procedures and ultimately better matches between the new teachers you hire, the positions available, and the school's approach. Examining the hiring process also opens fruitful conversations about a wide range of topics, including what kind of school community you are striving to create and what it means to teach successfully in that setting.