"Thrown in the deep end": the relationship of induction programs to new teacher retention
Portis-Woodson, Angela F.
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Nationally, thousands of new teachers in grades K-12 permanently leave the profession of teaching within five years of employment. Up to one third of new teachers leave the profession within three years. State legislatures mandated new teacher induction programs in the 1980s to improve new teacher retention. However, research regarding the effectiveness of induction programs shows mixed results. Factors from two theoretical, teacher induction models were used to guide the inquiry: Comprehensive Induction and Mutual Benefits Models. This study examined the relationship of teacher induction models to the likelihood of first-year middle school teacher retention. First-year middle school teachers in Texas from state Education Regions One, Two, Three, and Four participated. Demographic data collected included gender, age, ethnicity, district type, SES, first or second career, certification type, and content area. Middle school teachers in the Regions were contacted. Only first year teachers were asked to respond. Ninety-nine surveys from respondents were used for quantitative analyses. Analyses included descriptive, frequency, factor analysis, t-test, and ANOVA statistical procedures. Results showed new faculty planned on remaining as teachers, but not necessarily due to induction programs. Induction programs were not particularly effective for teachers returning to the profession for a second year. Teachers were concerned about student loan payments, place-bound restrictions, and lack of other employment opportunities. Additionally, factor analyses showed the two theoretical models were important to new teachers for professional development as it applies to their career for assessment, planning, and mentoring. For their personal lives, results showed new teachers want to know how to: balance their personal life with their professional one; provide success opportunities for students; and be at ease in the profession. Implications suggest that the demographic data examined for new teachers does not matter for retention: a new teacher is a new teacher. Additionally, new teacher induction programs are not particularly effective for new teacher retention. New teachers have a number of other needs beyond those of the profession that should be addressed in induction programs. Finally, induction programs should consider experimenting with the new induction model proposed in the study as a result of data analyses. It integrates professional and personal interests.
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