Unique Professional Support for New Teachers to Help Boost Student Performance

A new era of professional support will better prepare and retain new teachers in the classroom and help boost student achievement, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said today.
“We have some of the best teachers in the country, but we were giving them the shortest amount of training time,” said Kennedy during a visit with new teachers on the eve of World Teachers’ Day. “This program will complement their formal one-year training with another full year of on-the-job training, mentoring and assessment and the result will be better prepared and more confident teachers to deal with the demands of the classroom.”
The government is introducing a second step in teachers’ professional development by requiring that every new teacher receive the New Teacher Induction Program in their first year of teaching. The $15 million program will be available to Ontario’s approximately 10,000 new teachers each year. The program gives teachers, as well as students and parents, the assurance
that beginning teachers will get the assistance they require to effectively translate their initial training and commitment into success in the province’s classrooms.

The five essential components include:
– On-the-job training in areas such as classroom management, effective
parent communication skills and instructional strategies that
address the learning and cultural needs of aboriginal students,
students at risk, special education students and second-language
– Mentoring for new teachers by experienced teachers
– If passed by the Legislature, two evaluations conducted by
principals to replace the previous ineffective and expensive pen and
paper teacher qualifying test
– Orientation for all new teachers by the school and school board
– If approved by the Legislature, new accountability and reporting
measures to ensure that every new teacher is able to undertake the
induction program

“We are determined to continue to reverse the trend of losing too many qualified teachers in their first few years of teaching,” said Kennedy.
“Our ambition is to give teachers the best professional support at the right time in their career to help them keep pace with student needs.”
According to the Ontario College of Teachers’ review of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan data, between 1993 and 1999, there was an attrition rate of 22-33 per cent during the first three years for all new teachers. The most common reason cited for leaving is lack of support to adjust to the demands of the classroom.
The retention of teachers appears to be improving according to a longitudinal study conducted by the Ontario College of Teachers.
“Entering the classroom as a first-time teacher can be scary. Having an experienced teacher available to support me will help me ensure my students succeed,” said first-year teacher Kathy Irvine, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.
“That’s why I was really pleased when the Minister asked me to work on the design of this support program for teachers.”
“Providing effective supports to new teachers is critical for teacher and student success,” said Harold Brathwaite, co-chair of the government’s Working Table on Teacher Development and Chair of the Retired Teachers of Ontario. “The New Teacher Induction Program is the result of a collaborative effort between the government and education stakeholders.”
“Ontario’s students deserve the greatest possible opportunity for success,” said Kennedy. “Ontario can become the best learning jurisdiction by making it the best jurisdiction to teach in.”