2017 General Teacher Prep Programs 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: Ohio requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. All new teachers are required to participate in a four-year Resident Educator Program, which includes support and mentoring for new teachers. Mentoring is required for the first two years of the program.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Ohio requires mentors to have five years of teaching experience and complete a district application process. Mentors are selected by the district or school and must successfully complete state-sponsored mentor training, and the mentor's performance is evaluated by program coordinators. Mentors and new teachers are matched according to "relevant experiences and local contexts, current assignments and proximity of location."
ORC 3319.223 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3319.223 Ohio Resident Educator Program Standards 2011 http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Resident-Educator-Program/Program-Standards/Resident-Educator-Program-Standards.pdf.aspx
Set more specific parameters.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Ohio should articulate minimum guidelines for a high-quality induction experience. 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 and specify a method of performance evaluation.
Select high-quality mentors.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Ohio 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.
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.