2017 Hiring Policy
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: Maine requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. The state's induction program mandates that mentors be assigned to new teachers for a period of two years. Standards also require that adequate time is provided for mentors and new teachers to meet weekly and "observe in the classroom periodically." An evaluation of the program is conducted annually by the induction committee.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Maine allows mentors to be chosen by a school leadership committee comprised of faculty, in which the principal has input. All mentors must have at least three years of experience and must successfully complete the state-approved training program. Although it is not required that mentors have experience in grade level and subject matter similar to the new teachers, the committee considers grade level, content, location and compatibility of individual style. Mentor compensation is not specified, but standards provide that "incentives exist for mentors."
Maine Rules 05-071 Chapter 118 Maine Induction Program Standards http://www.state.me.us/education/induction.html Teacher Mentoring Training Resources http://www.maine.gov/doe/effectiveness/mentoring.html
Set more specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the state should set a timeline by which mentors are assigned to new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching, to offer support during those critical first weeks of school. The state should also set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet.
Select high-quality mentors.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Maine 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.
Maine recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.