"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
dont 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 Ive acquired.
Every new teacher should be required to attend a new teacher
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 dont pick it up and wont 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
teachersis 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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