Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Staffing Practices/New Teachers
Finding effective, efficient teachers is the goal of all school systems. However, new teacher recruitment and retention seems to be a growing problem for many parts of our country. According to research “over the next decade, the United States will need to hire 2 million teachers due to rising enrollments, increasing retirement rates of current teachers, and high rates of attrition for beginning teachers.” (Darling-Hammond 254) With the amount of new openings becoming available, some schools may become desperate to hire new employees, and this may lead to unqualified teachers taking some the positions. This type of hiring poses a problem for the school systems since in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) there are “regulations requiring that all teachers in core academic subjects be ‘highly qualified’ by 2005-2006.” (Liu 324) To realize the implications of the NCLB and to understand the practices of school systems currently, a few core questions must be analyzed. The questions are: How are school systems currently recruiting and selecting the new teachers that are needed? Once hired, how are school systems defining the roles of new teachers, and how are these new teachers being trained? Once a new teacher is hired, it is important that the individual understand what is expected of him/her, and for retention purposes, it is important that some amount of training is given. This chapter will discuss in greater detail the answers to the hiring and selecting, defining roles, and training questions.
Recruitment and Selection
As mentioned previously, schools may, and in some cases have, become desperate enough to higher teachers who may not be qualified. Linda Darling-Hammond and Barnett Berry, in an article titled Recruiting Teachers for the 21st Century: The Foundation for Educational Equity, have found in their research “in 1994…27% of new entrants to public school teaching had not completed the requirements for a state license in their main assignment field.” (257) This type of selection is not occurring due to the lack of new teachers entering the working world. In fact, Darling-Hammond and Berry found that “only about 65% to 70% of newly prepared teachers obtain jobs after they graduate, and many report that they cannot find jobs.” (258) How is the hiring process conducted in a way that allows unqualified people to take positions that certificated teachers could fill?
Good teachers make the difference in the life of a child and can make the difference in the school by being a creative individual. That teacher could add to the solution rather than create yet another problem. Simply assisting students toward becoming successful in the classroom helps them to become successful in the workplace. Unfortunately most school systems aren't seeking an individual who will be creative, nurturing or encouraging instead, they will look at the status of their education and check to see if they are within the guidelines of a highly qualified teacher.
There are several reasons that new teachers do not find jobs within the educational realm, and why unqualified personnel are hired. First, we will look at how districts can organize the hiring process. The first approach is the centralized approach. In this method, “administrators at the district office carry out most of the hiring activities, … typically rely on standardized procedures for processing large batches of applications, and tend to use generic job descriptions, standardized interview protocols, and/or criteria for evaluating candidates. (Liu 332) In the case of centralized approach, Edward Liu and Susan Moore Johnson found in their research that this leads to many districts hiring a teacher based on his/her general qualifications and will find him/her a specific school at a later time. (332) The second approach is a decentralized one. In this method, the schools are allows to carry out their own hiring procedures. This tactic allows for a much more personalized interview, and also allows the candidates and the schools more contact with one another. (Liu) Most hiring is done through a combination of centralized and decentralized approaches.
Liu and Johnson studied the various methods of hiring between four states in their report titled New Teachers’ Experiences of Hiring: Late, Rushed, and Information-Poor. The top reason that these researchers came up with for fully certified teachers not to be hired by the school system was actually on the part of the districts’ hiring process. The reason is timing. Most teachers in the four states studied, according to Liu and Johnson, were hired one month before school started, and some were hired after school had already begun. (Liu 345) Due to the late timing, most qualified teachers may have already taken jobs elsewhere, whether in education or in business. The reasons for the delay in job offers include: not being able to predict enrollment rates accurately; budget decisions may be state or municipality; any transfer processes of tenured teachers must be complete before hiring new teachers; and the district personnel offices or systems are poorly organized, inefficient, or dysfunctional. (Liu 352) Whatever the cause, these issues make it hard for qualified teachers to be hired within the schools or their choice.
As of the 2005-2006 school year, all teachers were expected to be what No Child Left Behind called, “highly-qualified” teachers. A “highly-qualified” teacher is defined as a teacher who has met the state’s licensing and certification requirement and meets all necessary criteria. The criteria are that the teacher must possess a bachelor’s degree in the subject he/she chooses to teach, pass a state given test that gauges the knowledge the teacher holds in their chosen field, and must pass a test in any other subject they plan to teach. For example, if Mr. Jones has a bachelor’s degree in both science and math, then he must pass a science and math state test in order to be able to teach both subjects. All teachers must meet the NCLB standard of “highly-qualified” teacher’s, even the experienced ones (Wikipedia). NCLB allows for experienced teachers to show their subject competency through a program called HOUSSE, or High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation, in which states are able to create another way for teacher’s to demonstrate their competency (“New NCLB”).
Whether the teacher hired is qualified or not, there are still certain roles that he or she must fill. Everyone knows the basic role of a teacher is to be a teacher. To teach is “to show or help (a person) to learn (how) to do something” (Agnes 1468) such as a skill or trait. This role is most commonly thought also as being a lecturer. However, this is not the only role that school districts want their teachers to fill. Other roles include demonstrator, listener, a person who empowers (Holtrip), and a disciplinarian. Dr. Stephen Holtrip, a professor at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, gives other examples of the main roles that teachers must take on in his statement, “Obviously, teachers wear many hats: friend, counselor, judge, mentor--hundreds of roles and different roles for different classes, students, and extra curricular duties.”
As if the above listed duties are not enough, teachers are also expected to be collaborators with their colleagues, learners of new ways to instruct, and secretaries of the paperwork that is required of them. With all of these roles placed upon new teachers, its no wonder that the stress of the job can get to some of them. In addition to the stress of taking on the roles, there is also no, or very little, training that is given to new inductees.
Training for new schoolteachers is almost non-existent. The training that is given is usually limited to a district orientation or occasional workshop. Linda Molner Kelley uses a good simile in her article Why Induction Matters, “Although other professions provide transitional assistance for new members, … historically the education profession has ignored the support needs of its new recruits and has been described as ‘the profession that eats its young.’” (438) The type of training that new teachers can received through a good induction program can actually increase the chance of retention and low attrition rates.
Partners in Education
|“||To teach well, we need not say all that we know, only what is useful for the pupil to hear.||”|
Kelly examines a program named Partners in Education (PIE) offered through the University of Colorado of Builder. The PIE program “emphasizes reflective teaching practices, individual mentoring from an expert teacher each week, frequent networking with other novice teachers, and inquiry-based graduate study tailored to each teacher’s professional needs and classroom situation.” (Kelley 440). The steps listed above make the PIE program well-rounded, and also help the future teachers to learn cooperative thinking, as well as reflective and creative. The different ways to solve a problem will help novice teachers to be able to fit in most of the roles expected of them. Mentoring is probably the most helpful item in the above list. Mentors can coach new teachers in areas such as classroom management, lesson planning, and disciplining.
In fact, Kelley states that the PIE mentors are expected to assist the PIE teachers in areas such as “short- and long-term planning, developing standards-based lessons and authentic assessments, differentiating instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners, creating classroom communities, and collaborating with colleagues and parents.” (443). Induction, when coupled with mentoring as the PIE program is, is an effective way to help new teachers fit in more comfortably to their new roles once hired by the school system.
Hiring new teachers is becoming a larger concern for many school systems in the 21st century. Being able to shorten the hiring process to offer more jobs to new teachers in the spring will help to ensure quality teachers will take the positions that are open. Once these new teachers are hired, however, training is required for the teacher to hit into his/her roles, which will help to decrease attrition. With school systems being able to retain highly qualified teachers, the students will be the most benefited through the enhanced process.
Multiple Choice Questions
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- Agnes, Michael (1999). Webster’s New World College Dictionary (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan.
- Darling-Hammond, Linda and Berry, Barnett (1999). Recruiting Teachers for the 21st Century: The Foundations for Educational Equity. Journal of Negro Education 68 (3), 254-279. Retrieved on February 3, 2007 from JStor Database: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-2984%28199922%2968%3A3%3C254%3ARTFT2C%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9
- Holtrip, Stephen (1999). Writing Lesson Plans: Teacher’s Roles. Huntington, IN: Huntington University. Retreived on February 4, 2007 from Huntington University Website: http://www.huntington.edu/education/lessonplanning/roles.html
- Kelley, Linda Molner (2004). Why Induction Matters. Journal of Teacher Education 55 (5), 438-559. Retrieved on February 3, 2007 from Education: A SAGE Full-Text Database
- Liu, Edward and Johnson, Susan Moore (2006). New Teachers’ Experiences of Hiring: Late, Rushed, and Information-Poor. Educational Administration Quarterly 42 (3), 324-360. Retrieved on February 3, 2007 from Education: A SAGE Full-Text Database
- "New No Child Left Behind Flexibility: Highly Qualified Teachers." Retrieved on April 12, 2007 from the Department of Education's Website: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/methods/teachers/hqtflexibility.html
- "No Child Left Behind." Retrieved on April 12, 2007 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind#Teacher_quality