Trials, Triumphs, and Transitions: Examining Perceptions of New Teacher Induction in Relation to Mentoring and School Culture
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It is a well-known fact that entering the teaching profession can be a challenge for nearly anyone (Kronowitz, 2004). Recently, the discussion has shifted to looking at strategies to assist the new teachers in making the transition (Portner, 2005; Sweeny, 2008), with an attempt in the province of Ontario through the implementation of a provincially mandated New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) legislated 2006. Yet, since programs like Ontario’s NTIP are still fairly new, concerns exist as to the effectiveness and ideal structure of induction programs (Glassford & Salinitri, 2007; Tait, 2005; Cherubini, 2009; Robinson, 1998; Johnson & Kardos, 2010), with little recognition of the role of school culture only peripherally addressed within induction literature. Therefore, the intent of this study was to examine the experiences of new teachers who have previously completed the Ontario NTIP program in order to understand the impact of induction programs on the process of new teacher socialization. In order to carry out this study, a combination of document analysis and individual interviews was used. The findings reveal an emphasis upon evaluation within the program documents, unclear roles, the absence of school culture, and little information to ensure proper implementation of the program. Three themes emerged from the interviews. First, the participating new teachers identified the need for support beyond the first year of teaching. Secondly, there seemed to be a general confusion about NTIP with regards to elements, outcomes, and roles among the participants. Finally, responses indicated that mentoring was important for a teacher to feel comfortable in his or her role. Implications of this research extend to the design and long-term support specifically needed for new teachers, establishing the need for direct consideration of school culture and teaching context upon a new teachers’ transition. This research suggests that NTIP documentation be revised to consider all elements more appropriately and for school boards and schools to recognize the role of a new teacher within the environment, and attempt to establish a mentoring culture.