PPTA Professional Issues Update
Tuakana-Teina induction and mentoring pilot
The Education Council has announced an induction and mentoring (I&M) pilot, Tuakana-Teina, aimed at supporting some provisionally certificated teachers (PCTs) to full certification. The pilot is a timely reminder that the road to certification consists of:
- initial teacher education (ITE), and
- a minimum of two years teaching with advice and guidance.
A significant contribution to a teacher's development
Advice and guidance programmes are significant contributions to a teacher’s development. In The Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for Beginning Teachers, Ingersoll and Strong (2011) found that participation in induction programmes increased teacher commitment and retention, improved teacher classroom instructional practices, and student achievement.
Teachers who received I&M performed better at various aspects of teaching, such as keeping students on task, using effective student questioning practices, adjusting classroom activities to meet students’ interests, maintaining a positive classroom atmosphere, and demonstrating successful classroom management. The students of these teachers scored higher on academic achievement tests.
It is not a level playing field for beginning teachers
The Education Council’s pilot is specifically aimed at supporting PCTs who completed ITE within the last six years and currently do not have a mentor.The pilot is an admission that it is not a level playing field for beginning teachers. Some beginning teachers are fully supported when they take up their first position—they are allocated handpicked classes, receive a well-planned induction programme, and have a mentor teacher in the same department who can give both curriculum and pedagogical advice and guidance. These schools ensure first year beginning teachers teach a maximum of 0.8 teaching load and do not place too many expectations on them in areas like extra-curricular involvement.
However, in other schools this is not the case, and the recourse for beginning teachers who do not receive suitable support is sorely lacking. Often they are precariously employed, so are amongst the least able of all teachers to insist on their entitlements. So I welcome the pilot. Unfortunately, it is not for teachers who are already getting mentoring, even where this may be deficient.
PPTA has long advocated mentoring support for beginning teachers
PPTA has long advocated that roles like associate teachers and those mentoring beginning teachers are vital for the professional and should be properly recognised with PLD, time, remuneration and qualifications.
Initial teacher education courses are expensive to run—student teachers need to experience sound education pedagogy so cannot be taught through mass lectures, and the practicums need one-on-one feedback. It seems strange that after all the time and money spent on initial teacher education, guidance and mentoring are left to the whim of the school that employs the beginning teacher.
Beginning teachers without mentors more likely to leave
In a time of severe teacher shortage, it is even more important that we look after our beginning teachers. A US study Career Paths of Beginning Public School Teachers of 155,600 beginning teacher found that those who did not have a mentoring programme were less likely to be teaching after 5 years.
In this study, 80% of beginning teachers who were assigned a mentor during their first year of teaching taught all 5 years of the study, compared to 64% who were not assigned a mentor.
The situation is even worse in New Zealand
In New Zealand, where all beginning teachers are expected to receive guidance and mentoring, the loss rate in the first five years is even worse, just under 50%. Why our turnover is so high is puzzling, and may be affected by workload, remuneration; even selection.
Reasons suggested for why PCTs are not getting I&M are that they are in years 3-6, so neither the PCT nor the mentor teacher are entitled to any time allowance, the beginning teacher is in a department of one, the school is small and there is no one with the necessary subject knowledge or heavy workload precludes suitable mentor teachers from being able to provide support.
Think about applying to for the pilot
So if you are a PCT and are not currently receiving I&M think about applying for the pilot. The initial stages of the application are confidential and the school will only be contacted once you have been approved for the pilot. The Education Council is at pains to point out that the pilot is not out to chastise schools, just to support PCTs to certification.
Interested in becoming a paid mentor?
Guidelines for PCTs and mentor teachers are available on the Education Council website Guidelines for I&M and mentor teacher.
The Education Council is looking for part-time or recently retired registered and certificated teachers to be paid mentors for the pilot.
Time allowances for beginning teachers and their mentors
Here is a reminder of the time allowance (STCA 3.8) entitlement for both beginning teachers and their mentors.
Year one (i.e. first four consecutive school terms) trained beginning teacher - 0.8 of a full-time teaching load and no more than 20 hours of allocated duties during normal school hours each week. This is to allow beginning teachers to undertake their duties as a teacher and undergo guidance and mentoring. The school also gets 0.04 FTTE for advice and guidance, which should go to the mentor teachers.
Year two (i.e. fifth to eighth consecutive school terms) - 0.9 of a full-time teaching load.
Again, the school gets 0.04 FTTE for advice and guidance.
STCA 3.8 (ppta.org.nz)
Finally, if you are a beginning teacher and do not feel that you are getting the guidance and support that you need, talk to your branch chair or contact your field officer.