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: Oregon does not require a mentoring program or any other induction program for all its new teachers. However, districts can elect to participate in the state's beginning teacher mentorship program. Districts that implement the program must adhere to guidelines that specify that mentorship programs include "direct observation and consultation, assistance in instructional planning and preparation, support in implementation and delivery of classroom instruction, development of school leadership skills, and other assistance intended to assist the beginning teacher." The guidelines also require that there must be 75-90 hours of contact between mentors and beginning teachers throughout the school year. The Oregon Department of Education is responsible for the "regular and ongoing evaluation of implementation and administration" of these programs.
Oregon's alternate route Restricted Transitional Teaching License candidates must be assigned a mentor by their district.
Mentor Selection Criteria: For districts that participate in the state's optional mentoring program, mentors must possess a teaching license, have at least five years of experience, and participate in training programs. These guidelines also specify that mentors should receive professional development. Mentors may be compensated with a stipend.
Oregon Revised Statute 329.788 through 820 Oregon Administrative Rules 581-018-0133 through 0148
Ensure that a high-quality mentoring experience is available to all new teachers, especially those in low-performing schools.
Although Oregon supports mentoring of some teachers, the state should ensure that all new teachers—especially teachers in low-performing schools—receive mentoring support, particularly in the first critical weeks of school.
Set more specific parameters.
While Oregon requires a commendable amount of contact between mentors and new teachers, the state should set a timeline by which mentors are assigned to new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching.
Select high-quality mentors.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Oregon 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.
Oregon recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis; however, this analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.
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.