Beginning Teacher Resilience: Considerations for Formal and Informal Mentoring

Today’s blogger is Dr. Brie Morettini, who authored “Building Beginning Teacher Resilience: Exploring the Relationship Between Mentoring and Contextual Acceptance,” published in The Educational Forum.

Each year, teacher candidates across the country graduate from colleges of education. Many of these recent graduates already have teaching jobs lined up for the following school year, while many more work earnestly and excitedly on applications for positions.

These beginning teachers are enthusiastic and qualified and possess the pedagogical content knowledge needed to effectively reach the diverse learners who will fill their classrooms. Yet, much more remains for them to learn—so much that it is hard to learn it all in a methods course, a clinical practice seminar, or even through a high-stakes assessment.

For those of us who look back fondly on our years spent in classrooms, the gift of time has rendered our daily challenges and struggles into memories. For beginning teachers, however, these struggles are not memories—they are living, breathing, real elements of their everyday lives in the classroom. The ability to thrive despite the daily struggles of teaching are what we have come to understand as resilience.

Scholarly and practical interest in teacher resilience has emerged as a topic of international interest, as the need to develop a stable teaching force has arisen as a global commitment.

To better understand the nuances of beginning teacher resilience, we sought to develop a study that focused on one rather commonplace aspect of beginning teacher resilience development: mentoring. I recently co-authored a piece with Dr. Kathryn Luet and Dr. Lisa Vernon-Dotson about mentoring as an element of building resilience, which is featured in The Educational Forum and is titled “Building Beginning Teacher Resilience: Exploring the Relationship Between Mentoring and Contextual Acceptance.”

Research shows that beginning teachers who receive mentoring from more seasoned, veteran teachers are more likely to return to their high-needs school than teachers who do not receive mentoring. Mentoring, therefore, has become a widely practiced aspect of first-year induction for beginning teachers in an effort to retain talent and diminish the high rates of teacher turnover that plague the profession, particularly in high-needs schools.

Our study is part of a larger grant-funded project aimed at improving mentor quality by drawing on tenets of sociocultural theory. We maintain that individuals learn and grow when educational opportunities attend to environmental factors and teachers’ specific needs, and when such opportunities progress in logical stages promoting incremental learning and growth. Specifically, the context in which beginning teachers work influences their learning about the nature of the profession.

As part of our grant-funded project, cohorts of mentor teachers received 2 years of intensive professional development on culturally responsive pedagogy, anti-racist education, and critical friends’ groups. These topics were identified through a large-scale needs assessment with teachers from Hillside Public Schools. This represents an organic approach to mentoring targeted at the needs articulated directly by beginning teachers.

The study explores whether and to what extent, if at all, this targeted mentoring support contributed to beginning teachers’ resilience.

What we found throughout our study was that resilience is best achieved through a nested approach. More specifically, beginning teachers begin to build resilience when they experience layers of contextual acceptance: acceptance from students, colleagues, and the larger community. And, mentoring offers entrée into feelings of acceptance from colleagues, which consequently prompts some beginning teachers to feel belonging or acceptance from their students and ultimately the larger community in which they teach. The feelings of belonging and acceptance that a range of mentoring experiences creates for beginning teachers enhances resilience, which helps beginning teachers overcome their perceived lack of preparation for the rigors of teaching, particularly in a high-needs setting.

The beginning teachers in this study referenced the support they received from some level of mentoring, whether the support occurred as formal mentoring required by the state for first-year teachers or as more informal, sporadic mentoring from colleagues. The study illuminates the importance of formal and informal mentoring spaces for beginning teachers and of building a community of support and acceptance so that beginning teachers can manage and overcome the chronic and acute stresses that accompany teaching.

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share an essay from The Educational Forum with the education community. Access the article at Taylor and Francis Online, free through March 31, 2019.

Dr. Brie Morettini

Dr. Brie Morettini is an Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education at Rowan University. She teaches courses on research literature and analysis, working with families and communities, and inclusive early childhood and elementary education. Her research focuses on beginning teacher identity development, beginning teachers’ perspectives on the profession, and the use of self-study methodologies to uncover and acknowledge epistemological frames.

 

 

Call for Manuscripts: The New Teacher’s Guide to Overcoming Common Challenges

An edited guidebook by Drs. Anna Quinzio-Zafran and Elizabeth A. Wilkins, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

The New Teacher’s Guide to Overcoming Common Challenges: Curated Advice from Award Winning Teachers

Target Release: 2021

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: August 15, 2019
  • Acceptance Decision to Authors: September 20, 2019
  • Completed Article Due: October 18, 2019

Introduction

New teachers need a quick resource to use as they navigate their first years of teaching. They don’t have the time to read long journal articles or books to make just-in-time decisions about classroom practice. Rather, they need practical advice on critical challenges they face each day and throughout the school year. This guide is designed to support new teachers during their first years in the profession through print copy and online networking with peers and accomplished teachers based on ten common challenges.

In addition to being compact and able to fit into a teacher’s plan book, the guide also leverages a high tech, high touch approach in order to appeal to today’s tech generations who want just-in-time support. We plan to build a community around the guide, building in participatory events like Twitter chats featuring the hashtag #newteachersupport, Instagram challenges, Facebook Q & A live events with authors, new webinars that feature associated challenge topics, short podcasts, and social media infographics that act as reminders of important ideas in succinct and practical ways. Finally, the guide will contain an access code to resources; the code will take the new teacher to a list of pdfs with related material that can be opened with the access code for immediate use in the classroom.

Your Submission

This guide will offer timely, best practice, and innovative concepts across ten common challenges for new teachers: (1) Classroom Management, (2) Curriculum and Instruction, (3) Student Assessment, (4) Differentiation, (5) Relationship Building/School Culture, (6) English Learners, (7) Culturally Responsive Instruction, (8) Navigating Teacher Evaluation, (9) Data Literacy, and (10) Work-Life Balance. The guide, divided by topic, will also feature links to web resources.

Additionally, if your submission is accepted, we would like to offer further opportunities for you to leverage your leadership by taking part in our planned social media community (e.g., co-hosting live Facebook chats, Twitter Q & A sessions, webinars, a vlog, Instagram challenges and/or online roundtable discussions). All authors will be asked to participate in the online support activities from 2021-2023.

Keep Audience in Mind: The guide’s primary audience is new teachers. Additionally, the guide can appeal to PK-12 schools who offer induction/mentoring programs for their new teachers. Finally, this guide can be used by teacher preparation programs (both traditional and alternative) who teach, supervise, and support new teachers as they begin their professional careers.

Submission Guidelines

The editors are seeking well-written manuscripts for new teachers on any of the ten chapter topics. Manuscripts are being accepted for one-page articles (500 words) or two-page articles (800 words). Your manuscript should offer practical suggestions and resources that first- or second-year educators and student teachers can readily apply in their classrooms. When you write and edit, think about writing very succinctly so that each sentence is meaningful (like a tip in itself). We would like you to also include an original related document that connects to your manuscript that can be downloaded from the book’s website. 

Scroll to the bottom of this post for New Teacher Voice submission guidelines.

Writer’s Guidelines

  • 500 or 800 word document
  • Include an author-created resource, related to your topic, to stimulate thinking, promote self-reflection, and support new (not part of your word count)
  • Word attachment in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-space
  • If you include references, use the APA Style (American Psychological Association, 6th Edition).
  • Consider using bullets or numbered points
  • Write using active voice
  • Submit your proposal to https://kdp.formstack.com/forms/newteachersupport

LIST OF CHAPTERS AND THEIR DESCRIPTORS

CHAPTER TOPICS DESCRIPTOR OF EACH CHAPTER
Chapter 1

Classroom Set-Up and Management

Includes physical arrangement and how it can be easily modified for specific purposes, bulletin boards, record- keeping, procedures, and routines. This category also includes envisioning and maintaining a positive behavior management system, developing rules and practicing procedures, building relationships with hard-to-manage students, handling conflicts, averting bullying situations, and time management
Chapter 2

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Learn about children who might be living in poverty and its effects, with the myriad nationalities and ethnicities represented in today’s classroom.  How does one’s pedagogy acknowledge, respond to, and celebrate fundamental cultures?  Some examples of CRT include positive perspectives on parents and families, communication of high expectations, learning within the context of culture, and culturally mediated instruction.
Chapter 3

Curriculum and Instruction

Learning about district and/or grade-level curriculum, pacing guides, success standards, long-term and short- term planning, must be very how-to oriented, understanding grading expectations, how to plan highly engaging lessons for students. This category also includes Student Involvement – technology for learning, and anything you do with your students or you have them doing that motivates students to be involved in their own learning, including a wide variety of resources.
Chapter 4

Differentiation

Understanding how to implement accommodations, includes all types of differentiation with how-to’s – differentiating content, products, or processes – differentiating based on interests or abilities – scaffolding, tiering, cubing, RAFTing, etc., working collaboratively with other professionals such as special education/gifted/speech and language pathologists, etc., how to work with small groups, keeping the rest of the class engaged.
Chapter 5

English Learners

Especially looking for high impact strategies for helping ELs, ways to assimilate them into the classroom community,  engaging with their families, understanding how data from screeners correlates to curriculum design, best second language teaching strategies, developing strategies and materials using culturally relevant literature that focus on ELs and social justice, ways your communications can be translated, how to make tests less stressful for ELs, how to effectively plan so all students’ cultures enrich the classroom.
Chapter 6 Professionalism/School Culture Making the transition from student to working professional – establishing your professional identity with colleagues, administrators, support staff, families, students, and community members.
Chapter 7

Navigating Teacher Evaluation

Choosing the right lesson for an observation – preparing for the pre-conference – preparing students for classroom visitors – handling unplanned observations – how to advocate for your teaching.
Chapter 8

Relationship Building/Communication

Includes communications with students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members (including advocacy strategies to interact with city council, school board, or state or national legislators) – think about classroom newsletters, websites, use of social media, parent-teacher conferences of all types, what to say and how to say it.  This common challenge topic also includes becoming familiar with the community, its resources and values, how to get families and participating at school – especially how to communicate with and involve parents and guardians more involved in the education of the student, how to get whole families involved in learning.
Chapter 9

Student Assessment and Data Literacy

Learning about how to use formative and intermediate assessment to plan instruction – using summative assessment to determine how effective the instruction was – ways that student self-assessment contribute to success – interpreting data for different purposes.
Chapter 10

Work-Life Balance

How to juggle work and home life – seeing students’ parents in social situations away from school – how available you should make yourself after school hours – organizing work and home tasks – leaning on your

Call for New Teacher Voices:

New teacher voices are currently being accepted. Each chapter will feature three to five personal reflections on topics written by PK-12 early career teachers. The reflections may describe, for example, specific new teacher challenges or successes, insights or experiences that relate to a given topic. Each reflection should be written as a first-person narrative of 100-250 words and speak to strategies or anecdotal comments to serve as motivation for other new teachers.

Additionally, if your submission is accepted, we would like to offer further opportunities for you to leverage your leadership by taking part in our planned social media community (e.g., co-hosting live Facebook chats, Twitter Q & A sessions, webinars, a vlog, Instagram challenges and/or online roundtable discussions).

Complete new teacher voices should be submitted on or before August 15, 2019. Please include all of the following:

  • 100-250 word document
  • Word attachment in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-space
  • Working title for the submission
  • Chapter in which the proposed reflection best fits (see list of chapters)
  • Submit your proposal to https://kdp.formstack.com/forms/newteachersupport