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" New Teacher Induction"

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"We have to eliminate the social gathering period and the visits to model classrooms," Ms. Breaux notes. "We give them all the raw information, but some of it we have to streamline."

Now finishing its second full year, the Lafourche Parish program has trained more than 100 new teachers and has been met with almost unanimous enthusiasm from both the organizers and the participants.

"We have had tremendous support from the entire district," Ms. Breaux says. "One of our principals told me, ‘I don’t know if you realize what a difference induction makes. Teachers who have gone through induction are so much more ready to teach.’"

Angie Guidry, one of the first-year teachers to complete the 1997 induction program says, "The new teacher induction . . . has allayed many of my concerns as a teacher . . . I am very grateful for the confidence I’ve acquired. Every new teacher should be required to attend a new teacher induction."

Perry Rodrigue, the assistant superintendent, says, "Induction is the best thing we have ever done. All of our new teachers are returning and this has never happened before."

No Quick Fix
Of course, even the most ardent supporters of new teacher induction agree that such programs are not fool-proof.

"Induction is not the panacea for everything you encounter," warns Susie Heintz. "There will always be one or two teachers who just don’t pick it up and won’t make it. But I have discovered that the most important part of induction is the hiring process. I cannot stress that enough. You do whatever it takes to get the good people in."

And perhaps that combination -- the delicate mix of good people and effective, comprehensive training for newly licensed teachers—is the best way to ensure that schools are providing their students with the best education possible.

This article has been shared with you courtesy of Harry K. Wong with the kind assistance of Tony Baughman of the School District of Edgefield County Office of Technologies in South Carolina.

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