In November and February, the District hosts a program
called Teachers Teaching Teachers. The new teachers are
divided into grade levels and visit different classrooms,
asking questions of veteran teachers, observing the design
of the classrooms, and exploring other aspects of classroom
Among the other constants in the Gaston County induction
- Teachers are given copies of the book, The First Days
of School, by Harry Wong, as well as a notebook of other
resources for new hires.
- Teachers are provided a comprehensive introduction
to Gaston County, including members of the Chamber of
Commerce who talk with teachers.
During each of its six years in existence, the Gaston County
induction program has been funded in part by grant monies
from the state of North Carolina. The first grants were
awarded on the strength of a program entitled "Two
Wongs Make A Right," based on the writings of Drs.
Harry and Rosemary Wong.
When grant monies are available, the district pays new teachers
their regular daily salary rate to attend induction programs.
Otherwise, teachers receive $50 per day and $25 per three-hour
Saturday session they attend.
The master teachers who work in training with the program
also receive the same compensation. "We really have
some good people here, and they participate basically for
their own self-edification and the experience, to enhance
their skills," Ms. Rader explains.
Another unique by-product of Gaston Countys successful
grant writing was a five-minute video on their teacher induction
program. The simple but effective video combined snapshots,
music and the editing skills of a local teachers son,
who worked for a cable television production company. The
video was presented at a national conference in Florida.
Gaston Countys induction program also has been featured
in Video Journal, a monthly video series for educators.
Though the state of North Carolina has had legislation for
a couple of years requiring new teachers to have mentors,
the state had set no criteria and offered no incentives
for mentors. However, this year, the state General Assembly
provided for $100 per month for mentors.
"So, with that, the mentoring program is improving,
and we are making plans to have quarterly meetings with
the mentors to discuss their roles," Ms. Rader reports.
For its innovation over the years, the Gaston County induction
program was honored with the 1995 Governors Award
for Excellence in Education.
Thatalong with the impact the program has had on several
hundred new teachersis inspiration for Linda Rader
to keep her induction program evolving.
"New teachers always seem to get the hopeless tasks
and the worst of everything," she notes. "And
thats exactly what research says they shouldnt
have. They shouldnt be the floaters, and they shouldnt
be given more than one extracurricular activity. If we take
state money for induction, we have to guard against those
sorts of things.
"Our goal is to make the best teachers we can make.
I think were doing a pretty good job."
Just a few hours drive from Gaston County, in the
central Georgia community of McDonough, an unexpected result
of the new teacher induction program has been the personal
and professional growth not just among its target audiencethe
first-year teachersbut among those conducting the
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