The Role of School Administrators in the Induction and Mentoring of Early Career Teachers
- Benjamin KutsyurubaBenjamin KutsyurubaQueen's University
- and Keith D. WalkerKeith D. WalkerUniversity of Saskatchewan
Teachers’ quality and abilities are the most significant school-based factors contributing to student achievement and educational improvement. Helping new teachers in their transition and socialization into school contexts and the profession is important for their teaching careers. However, despite heavy financial and educational investments to enable their teaching careers, a large number of beginning teachers quit the profession in their first years. Researchers claimed that induction programs with effective mentoring in the early teaching years are capable of positively affecting beginning teacher retention and student achievement as well as reducing the waste of resources and human potential associated with early-career attrition. Due to the overall school leadership role, school administrators are responsible for ensuring that adequate teacher development and learning takes place in their schools. School administrators’ engagement is vital for the success of the induction and mentoring processes in schools. Implicit in much of the literature is that school administrators have an “overseer” or “manager” role in the teacher induction and socialization processes. In order to explore the administrators’ specific roles and responsibilities in induction and mentoring programs, the empirical literature that directly or indirectly makes reference to the formal or informal involvement of in-school or building-level administrators (e.g., school leaders, principals, head teachers, headmasters, and vice and assistant principals) in the beginning teacher induction and mentoring programs was reviewed.
The review of the literature on role of the school administrator in teacher induction and mentoring programs elicited the emergence of the following four categories: (1) objective duties and responsibilities for early career teacher support; (2) types, patterns, and formats of support; (3) benefits and impacts of school administrators’ involvement; and (4) leadership and commitment to programs. Implicitly and explicitly, the majority of the sources indicated that school administrators had an overall objective responsibility for supporting beginning teachers’ personal and professional development due to their legal and rational role of duty as leaders for teacher development and support in their schools. Various formal and informal duties of school administrators were discussed in the reviewed literature, varying from informal interactions with beginning teachers to scheduled formal meetings and teacher supervision, whereas assignment of mentors to beginning teachers was the most widely detailed aspect of the school administrator’s role. School administrators were found to play an important role in teacher induction and mentoring program implementation through the provision of various types of support to beginning teachers. School administrators’ core tasks in terms of teacher induction program success included recruiting, hiring, and placing new teachers; providing site orientation and resource assistance; managing the school environment; building relationships between school administrators and teachers; fostering instructional development through formative assessment; providing formative and summative evaluation; and facilitating a supportive school context. Studies noted direct and indirect impacts of the school administrator on the effective outcomes of teacher induction and mentoring programs and ultimately, teacher retention and development. In contrast, researchers also found negative outcomes of school administrators’ perceived lack of involvement or provision of support for early career teachers. Finally, literature noted the significance of school administrators’ leadership and commitment to the program if teacher induction and mentoring programs are to succeed.