Later this month I will be facilitating the “New Teacher Orientation” for 15-20 brand new educators who have chosen our district as the place to begin their careers. I’m both nervous and excited about the day because it’s an opportunity to get these young teachers off to a good start and to share with them our mission, which is to provide an excellent & inspiring Catholic education for our communities. Not only do they represent future promise for our schools, but if supported in the right ways will lead the education transformation agenda for years to come. I consider this to be one of my most important responsibilities the entire year.
So to better understand how the day should look, I’ve been spending some time reviewing the data from previous years exit surveys and have identified the most popular responses on the following two lists:
Things That Were Most Helpful
1. Presentation on Payroll/Benefits Q&A
2. Hearing from 2nd Year Teacher Panel Q&A
3. Hearing from a School Principal Q&A
Things I Would Change
1. Too much information. Please give less.
2. Need more time to talk/network.
An alarming statistic exists in Alberta where 40% of all teachers entering the profession leave within the first 5 years. The reasons include workload and stress issues, class sizes, issues with school administrators or local school board policies, and government educational policies. This study conducted by The Centre for Research for Teacher Education and Development at the University of Alberta offers 5 recommendations about what needs to be in place in order for teachers to thrive and choose to remain in the profession. What stood out for me in the report was that three of the five recommendations dealt directly with the need to provide multiple ways for teachers to experience ongoing collaborative professional growth, not just in the first year, but throughout their careers.
This has me thinking about including a short presentation about becoming a connected educator. This post I wrote last school year called The First Step in Connected Learning – Open Your Door might be a good place to start.
Here is my draft outline for the day:
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Opening Prayer
9:05 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
9:10 a.m. General Session Overview
9:15 a.m. Superintendent’s Address/Welcome
9:20 a.m. What is Religious Education?
9:50 a.m. Sharing of Important Documents
- Framework for Student Learning
- Inspiring Education
- A Great School for All
- Ministerial Order on Student Learning
10:15 a.m. Nutrition Break
10:35 a.m. Principal’s Talk Q & A
11:00 a.m. Teachers Association Information
11:20 a.m. Payroll/Benefits Q & A
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Divisions Focus for Improvement – A Conversation.
1:20 p.m. Teacher Information Package Q & A
1:30 pm 2nd Year Teacher Panel Q & A
2:00 p.m. Afternoon Break
2:20 p.m. Mentorship Program – How it works.
2:30 p.m. How to Become A Connected Educator (Interactive Presentation)
3:00 p.m. Door Prizes and Closing Prayer
I hope the day is both valuable and inspiring for our new teachers. If it spring boards them into a culture of collaboration and continual growth, perhaps they will avoid an early exit from this honourable profession.