Teacher Induction: Providing Comprehensive Training for New Special Educators
The initial years of a teacher’s career are a unique and challenging stage. New special education teachers typically take three to five years to develop the expertise they will need to maximize student achievement. Unfortunately, many new special education teachers describe their first years as overwhelming and stressful. As a consequence, they often leave the profession during this early career period. Understanding the kinds of challenges typically faced by new special education teachers will allow district and school leaders to better understand the kinds of support they need.
To address these challenges, states and school districts are increasingly using induction programs to help new special education teachers to transition into a school placement and to provide the critical support these teachers need to begin an effective teaching career. An induction program comprises those practices used to help new teachers become competent and effective professionals in the classroom. Teacher induction may be provided for a year or two or last as long as five years. Although most aspects of teacher induction are relevant for all teachers, special educators may need some specific elements of induction that are designed especially for them. One framework for developing a comprehensive teacher induction program includes the following components:
- Good job match
- Relevant work orientation
- Supportive school community
- Deliberate role design
- Ongoing professional development
- Responsive mentoring
When school leaders support their new teachers using a comprehensive induction program, they will be rewarded with more effective teachers who are more satisfied with their positions and who stay in the field.
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your responses to the Initial Thoughts questions at the beginning of this Module. After working through the Perspectives & Resources, do you still agree with those responses? If not, what aspects about them would you change?
What are some typical challenges faced by new special education teachers?
What supports can school leaders provide to develop effective and committed special education teachers?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.