Recruitment and Teacher Preparation
Recruitment and Teacher Preparation
OCTELA supports the effort to recruit and retain the best and the brightest people to go into the teaching profession. We believe that Ohio’s students are best served, however, by those who have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (including academic teachers in a vocational setting). We know more now about teaching and learning than we have ever known. To expect people to teach children without any knowledge of current “best practices” is to do a disservice to Ohio’s children. We support teacher education programs that emphasize: learning-centered approaches, professional responsibility and accountability, reflective practice, and affirmation of, and responsiveness to, differences.
Induction, Support and Retention
The statistics on the numbers of new teachers who leave the profession within the first five years are startling. OCTELA supports efforts to support and retain new teachers, not by punitive and “corrective” mentoring programs that supposedly hold new teachers “accountable.” Rather, OCTELA supports mentoring programs that would, instead create communities of inquiry, with caring professionals, both experienced and non-experienced, coming together to critically examine and extend professional knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learning, school practices, and the social purposes of education. These communities of inquiry would be of great benefit to those new teachers who are struggling with the first years.
Ongoing Professional Development
OCTELA affirms the essential role that ongoing professional development plays in the growth of all educators. Professional development is extremely useful. Resources committed to changes in teacher thinking and practices do affect change. However, change is also difficult both individually and systemically.
Ongoing professional development must be designed to meet the needs of teachers and students and not in reaction to a top-down mandate from district leaders. High quality professional development is characterized by: having a foundation based in research on teaching and learning; intensive and sustained support; follow-up that is appropriate to teachers’ needs in the context of practice; opportunities and tools for reflection; conversation, discussion, and collaboration aimed at deliberation, dialogue, and negotiation; and voluntary participation or some levels of choice. Such professional development might revolve around a book club/study group model or encouraging teachers to keep and evaluate reflective journals and/or their own professional portfolios.’
OCTELA supports school restructuring that allows and encourages school administrators to truly be the instructional leaders of their buildings. As well as for teachers, we must provide professional development for administrators that nurtures their growth as members of a community of inquiry. This ongoing mentoring and support for administrators must be structured so as to provide them with the utmost in support and scaffolding so that they do not burnout under the staggering demands of school administration.
OCTELA willingly volunteers its expertise and experience to work on Ohio’s future developments in teacher and administrator success. OCTELA supports models of teacher and administrator training and professional development that emphasize a solid research base of what we know about teaching and learning and a structure of ongoing professional development that will support our newest professional educators.