Re-launching the Promise to New Teachers
The Promise to New Teachers was developed in 2017 by the Establishing Teachers' Committee, at a time when 77% of new teachers were employed on temporary agreements. While this was the driving concern behind its development, the promise covered a broad range of issues relevant to beginning teachers.
The number of new teachers in temporary agreements has decreased to 61% in 2019, which is a good start, but the problem is by no means "fixed now". The other issues frequently experienced by new teachers, such as lack of appropriate mentoring, remain as relevant as they ever were.
The consequences of Covid-19 have made this work even more needed than before. This year's trainee teachers have had significantly less time on placements in schools due to the lockdowns and will need significant extra support when they are first year teachers next year.
The Promise to New Teachers remains largely the same as it was in 2017, with the small addition of prioritising new teachers to teach a mix of both junior and senior classes.
Schools who sign the Promise are committing themselves to:
- Provide permanent employment in all situations other than the exceptions outlined in the Employment Relations Act and the relevant collective agreement and make sure new teachers receive their entitlements under the relevant collective agreement.
- Provide the support and resources for high quality induction and mentoring.
- Appoint appropriately trained, supported and resourced mentor teachers and conduct planned and purposeful induction and mentoring programmes.
- Have them work alongside welcoming and inclusive school leaders and colleagues.
- Acknowledge and support their talents and contributions and provide ample opportunity and resources for them to develop in their practice and reach full certification.
- Have new teachers only teach subjects they are trained to teach.
- Give new teachers a home teaching space where possible.
- Teach a mix of junior and senior classes.
The purpose of the relaunch is to ask those schools who signed in 2017 to re-commit to the Promise, and for those who have not yet signed to join the community of schools actively valuing new teachers.
We had planned to re-launch the promise at the opening of the Issues and Organising seminar, which was unfortunately postponed to August due to the Covid alert levels changes (link to page 18). Instead, we will be holding the re-launch at the Secondary Principals' Council meeting where we will be asking the 16 principals on the council to commit, or re-commit, their schools to the Promise.
Getting your school to sign
If you want your school to sign up to the Promise to New Teachers here's how you can make it happen.
Talk to your PPTA branch chair about the Promise and why you should sign up. Offer to help them to arrange a branch meeting to discuss the issue. Invite your field officer along, they can support you.
Hold a branch (school) meeting where you discuss why your school should sign up. You can show the PowerPoint presentation available on the PPTA website. Hold a branch vote to agree to support the Promise, which then gives the branch authority to ask your principal and board to support it too.
Write to the principal and board chair asking them to sign up; there is a letter template on the website too. You may want to offer to meet with the principal and/or board of trustees about it too.
Pull out the copy of the Promise on the opposite page and wave it about the place.
Once your principal and board have signed, email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. We will add your school to the list and send you a copy of the Promise with your school name for the school to display.
Hold a 'signing celebration': invite the principal and board chair to a branch gathering where they can sign it and talk about how your school is committed to doing right by new teachers. Send us photos or upload them to social media so we ca add you to the PPTA's list of schools honouring the Promise.