The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-need schools. This goal was reorganized and not graded in 2017.
Mentoring for New Teachers: Missouri requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. The state mandates that new teachers participate in a mentoring program approved and provided by the local district for two years. Mentoring programs are evaluated by districts. Missouri requires that contact between teacher and mentor occurs prior to the start of the school year, and that sufficient release time is allowed for both beginning teachers and mentors for observation and meetings. Programs must provide a minimum of four class periods each year of release time for mentors to coach, observe, and meet with new teachers as well as four opportunities each year for new teachers to observe master educators.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Missouri requires that mentors have a minimum of four years of experience and hold the same or similar grade or subject-area position. The state requires that all mentors be trained.
5 CSR 20-400.260(7)A 3 and 4 Certificate of License to Teach Classifications 5 CSR 20-400.380 Mentoring Program Standards Rules of Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Division 20—Division of Learning Services Chapter 400—Office of Educator Quality http://www.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/adrules/csr/current/5csr/5c20-400.pdf Educator Growth Toolbox https://dese.mo.gov/educator-growth-toolbox/professional-learning The Probationary Period of the Novice Educator http://dese.mo.gov/eq/documents/ProbationaryPeriod-July2013.pdf
Set more specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the state should increase or clarify the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet and should specify a method of performance evaluation.
Select high-quality mentors.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Missouri should articulate minimum guidelines for the selection of high-quality mentors. It is particularly important that the mentors themselves are effective teachers. Teachers without evidence of effectiveness should not be eligible to serve as mentors.
Missouri recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. That state also noted that it has recently revised the Standards for Induction, which includes Beginning Teacher Assistance Programs (BTAP) and Mentoring. The analysis was updated after the state's review to reflect these changes.
Too many new teachers are left to "sink or swim" when they begin teaching, leaving most new teachers overwhelmed and under-supported at the outset of their teaching careers. Although differences in preparation programs and routes to the classroom do affect readiness, even teachers from the most rigorous programs need support once they take on the myriad responsibilities of their own classroom. A survival-of-the-fittest mentality prevails in many schools; figuring out how to successfully negotiate unfamiliar curricula, discipline and management issues, and labyrinthine school and district procedures is considered a rite of passage. However, new teacher frustrations are not limited to low performers. Many talented new teachers become disillusioned early by the lack of support they receive, and, particularly in our most high-needs schools, it is often the most talented teachers who start to explore other career options.
Vague requirements simply to provide mentoring are insufficient. Although many states recognize the need to provide mentoring to new teachers, state policies merely indicating that mentoring should occur will not ensure that districts provide new teachers with quality mentoring experiences. While allowing flexibility for districts to develop and implement programs in line with local priorities and resources, states also should articulate the minimum requirements for these programs in terms of the frequency and duration of mentoring and the qualifications of those serving as mentors.