High Stakes and High Needs: Preparing Early Career Teachers

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October 24, 2016 by HCDE-Texas

shutterstock_388641430Studies show that teachers who are early in their career leave the profession due to lack of support and feelings of failure in their school environment. They remain when they have supportive administration and regular opportunities to learn from peers.

One type of support shown to decrease teacher turnover is mentoring and coaching for beginning teachers. In fact, when beginning teachers receive mentoring, their focus shifts to student learning much earlier in their practice. They also become more effective teachers as they are learning through guided practice.

The assumption is that when teachers, particularly early career teachers, have an opportunity to: reflect on their practice; develop perspectives about their roles as educators; and compare those perspectives to actual practice, they develop a new awareness of what effective teaching and learning looks like.

Harris County Department of Education’s alternative educator preparation program supports teacher candidates with placement in high-needs schools in the Houston area. Candidates are placed with mentors based on the specific subject and grade level the candidates teach. The HCDE educator preparation program requires that mentors provide early career teachers with high-quality, targeted feedback on their instruction.

The program curriculum consists of coursework that focuses on core teaching practices. Specifically, a subset of high-leverage instructional practices have been included in the curriculum that the candidates learn prior to entering the classroom. They are supported through mentorship to master each practice when they enter the classroom. Additionally, these early career teachers are supported with professional development via the collaborative and reflective practice framework when they begin their second year of teaching.

For more information about HCDE’s alternative educator preparation program, visit https://goo.gl/g21C0o.

About the Blogger:
Deirdre Sharkey is the Leadership Advancement Officer for Harris County Department of Education. Before coming to HCDE Deirdre was a transformational school leader in an urban public school district. A recent newly-wed, she enjoys spending time getting fit with her hubby.

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