Sustaining Teacher Training In A Shifting Environment
Dan Goldhaber | National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) and Center for Education Data and Research (CEDR) at the University of Washington
Matt Ronfeldt | University of Michigan
Breaking Down the Issue
- Student teaching placements influence teacher effectiveness. If student teaching experiences are constrained by the pandemic, teacher candidates may lose valuable experiences and schools may lose the opportunity to shape and evaluate prospective hires.
- Teacher preparation programs and student teaching experiences play a major role in determining where candidates take job placements, in ways that can influence both job markets and staffing shortages.
Strategies to Consider
- Teachers and teachers-intraining who participate in online practice teaching see significant improvements in teaching skills.
- School systems can provide inservice supports for new teachers whose student teaching experiences were interrupted or incomplete.
- Stronger partnerships between teacher preparation providers and remote districts have the potential to bring significant benefits, both for student teachers and for districts facing staffing shortages.
- Student teachers represent an important pool of additional talent for schools; creative deployment of student teachers could provide a major boost as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
Strategies to Avoid
- Low-quality teacher mentoring programs, as well as those that are not sustained across multiple years, are likely to be ineffective.
- Teacher effectiveness might show up differently in an online setting – so relying on past measures of teacher quality will likely be insufficient.
Teacher Mental Health
What does research tell us about how to support teachers and staff who are facing challenges outside of the classroom?
District systems to support equitable and high-quality teaching and learning
PRINCIPAL SUPERVISORS: Principal supervisors support principals’ instructional leadership growth when they dedicate their time to that work and coach principals from a teaching and learning approach, maintaining their instructional focus even amid operational demands.
TEACHING & LEARNING: Teaching & Learning (T&L) units bolster principals’ equity-focused instructional leadership by supporting their use of a common, research-based definition of high-quality, culturally responsive teaching and by helping principals foster true teacher learning communities with the autonomy and resources necessary for teacher success.
HUMAN RESOURCES: Human Resources (HR) staff fuel principals’ equity-focused instructional leadership when they recruit and select teachers based mainly on performance, and when they strategically partner with principals to ensure teachers are in the right roles and teams for their success, with an emphasis on recruiting and retaining teachers of color.
DATA SYSTEMS: District data systems support principals’ equity-focused instructional leadership by providing principals with ready access to information about their students and staff that helps principals take a strengths-based and anti-racist approach.
OPERATIONAL STAFF: Operational staff help principals engage in equity-focused instructional leadership when they provide high-quality services to schools and strategically partner with principals to ensure that facilities, transportation, and food services in particular support each school’s instructional program.