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: Connecticut requires that all new teachers receive mentoring through the Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) program. Beginning teachers participate in the program for up to three years, depending on subject area.
Mentor Selection Criteria: Connecticut requires districts to develop a process for the recruitment and selection of mentors. The state requires mentors to have at least three years of teaching experience in Connecticut and at least one year of experience in their current district. Each mentor works with two or three new teachers and is provided a stipend.
TEAM Teacher Education and Mentoring Program Manual 2016-2017 http://www.ctteam.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/TEAM_Manual_2016-17.pdf Connecticut General Statutes Title 10 Chapter 166 Section 10-145o
Set more specific parameters.
To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the state should set guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet and should specify a method of performance evaluation.
Expand guidelines to include other key areas.
While still leaving districts with flexibility, Connecticut 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. It is particularly important that the mentors themselves are effective teachers. Teachers without evidence of effectiveness should not be eligible to serve as mentors.
Connecticut recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. Connecticut was also helpful in providing NCTQ with additional facts that enhanced 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.