All beginning teachers, regardless of their entrance into education, need schools to have proper support systems in place; a specific plan for beginning teachers to ease into their job. The following suggestions will help in creating a Beginning Teacher Support Plan (BTSP) derived from research, best practices, and experience:

1. A warm welcome and tour from school administration and front office staff (These are the first faces and contacts a new teacher will make)

2. Welcome packet (The packet should include handbooks, supplies, school gear, teacher and school non-negotiables, basic grade level and/or school rules/procedures/responsibilities, and school/grade level expectations)

3. Calendar- A timeline of what is expected throughout the school year along with frequently asked questions (Examples: When do they turn in their lesson plans? When should they start having introductory meetings with parents? When will they be observed? At what point in the year do they need to create a formal reflection of what is working and what they need to improve?)

4. A certified mentor (One with experience in the same area as the new teacher, has great character, exhibits professionalism, and demonstrates loyalty to the school)

5. Lists, Maps, and Charts (Places to go for school resources, faculty/staff department heads, educational best practices, and professional books/articles that relate to the mission and vision of the school)

6. Regularly scheduled “Meetings/Talk Time” with other beginning teachers and their mentors (This allows teachers to connect with others and reflect on their first year)

7. Professional Development (What can they get involved in locally or online; includes costs, contacts, and locations)

8. School-wide Opportunities (What are the extra-curricular, professional learning committees (PLCs), or leadership roles available?)

9. Beginning-of-year/Mid-year/End-of-year sessions with the school leadership team (This allows for questions, comments, or concerns to be addressed)

         When these “ingredients” are mixed into the beginning teacher’s first educational journey, you will retain teachers because they feel supported. No teacher should ever feel like they are an island, especially not one who is excited about starting their educational career. By mixing them into the school and the field of education, their confidence and loyalty will increase. Beginning teachers want one thing- “to know and grow”. The best way for them to flourish in a school and make a lasting impact is through retention. Here is a breakdown:

Beginning Teachers + School Support = High Morale and School Loyalty,

High Morale + School Loyalty = Individual Growth and Opportunism,

Individual Growth + Opportunism= School Leaders & Educator Retention,

Leadership + Educator Retention = A stronger, well-run school with employees focused on the mission and vision

         If a school does not offer the appropriate support when immersing new faculty members into the community, it’s back to square one.

Brianne Hudak, Educational Consultant