most important factor in improved student learning is with an effective
teacher. Written ten times a year, Harry and Rosemary Wong
feature effective teachers and administrators and what they do to
enhance student learning. The columns provide specific strategies
and activities that you can download and use. An archive of
past articles can be found at the end of every column.
strategies and activities are all based on the teachings and works
of Harry and Rosemary Wong and they are happy to share with the
profession the work of effective teachers. If you have an
effective strategy or technique that works, please share this by
sending it to [email protected].
The Wongs will consider it for sharing in future Effective Teaching
About Harry and Rosemary
and Rosemary Wong are teachers. Harry is a native of San Francisco
and taught middle school and high school science. Rosemary
is a native of New Orleans and taught K-8, including working as
the school media coordinator and student activity director.
Wong has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award, the
Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology
Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal. He was
recently selected as one of the most admired people in the world
of education by readers of Instructor magazine. Rosemary
was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has
been awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year
Wong is the most sought after speaker in education today.
He has been called "Mr. Practicality" for his common sense,
user-friendly, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level
a million teachers worldwide have heard his message. Because
he is fully booked for two years, he has agreed to and has invited
his wife to join him in doing a monthly column for teachers.net
so that more people can hear their message.
About Their Work...
Harry and Rosemary
Wong are committed to bringing quality and dignity to the materials
they produce. For this, they have formed their own publishing company,
of which Rosemary is the CEO. They have dedicated their lives
to leaving a legacy in education and making a difference in the
lives of teachers and students.
Their latest contribution
to helping teachers succeed is an eLearning course, Classroom
Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong. The
course can be taken in private at the learner's convenience.
The outcome of the course is a 2 inch binder with a personalized
Classroom Management Action Plan.
This Action Plan is
similar to the organized and structured plan used by all successful
teachers. Details for the classroom management course can
be seen at www.ClassroomManagement.com.
The Wongs have written
The First Days of School, the best-selling
book ever in education. Over 3 million copies have been sold.
The third edition
of The First Days of School includes an
added bonus, an Enhanced CD featuring Harry Wong. The Enhanced CD,
Never Cease to Learn, is dedicated to
those teachers who know that the more they learn, the more effective
The Wongs have also
produced the DVD series, The Effective Teacher,
winner of the Telly Award for the best educational video of the
past twenty years and awarded the 1st place Gold Award in the International
Film and Video Festival.
They have released
a new set of CDs with Harry Wong LIVE, called How
to Improve Student Achievement, recorded at one of
his many presentations. He is the most sought after speaker
in education and his presentations are legendary.
When the book, video
series, CD, and eLearning course are used together, they form the
most effective staff training tool for developing effective teachers.
Staff developers and administrators who would like to know how to
implement the aforementioned book, video series, and CD are encouraged
to consult the book, New Teacher Induction: How to Train,
Support, and Retain New Teachers. Information about
these products can be found by visiting the publisher's website
The First Days of School with Enhanced CD, Never
Cease to Learn
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
$23.96 from Amazon.com More
The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong
Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators,
Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education
by Peter M. Senge (Editor), Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, Timothy Lucas,
Art Kleiner, Janis Dutton, Bryan Smith
"Your new teacher induction program not only saved my wife as a classroom teacher, but it also saved my marriage. My wife was miserable both at home and at school. Whatever you did at that induction program made her so much more successful as a classroom teacher and a happier person in general."
Received by Annette Breaux, Director of the Induction Program
Lafourche Parish Schools, Thibodaux, Louisiana
Are you teaching in a school system that will support YOU and help you realize your full potential in affecting the lives of young people? You will recall in our March article we suggested that you move on if the elements for your support and ultimate success in the classroom were not in place in your school or district.
In fact recently our cousin, a first year teacher, lamented that there was no support or guidance after her dismal review. She asked our advice. We said, "Move on to a supportive environment."
The advice to move on is easy to say, but how do you know what to look for? Schools and districts may call their programs induction when in actuality they are mere social gatherings filled with the minutia details of where, how, when, and who runs the system.
Recognizing a Good Induction Program
The term induction is often mistakenly used synonymously with the terms mentoring and orientation. Mentoring is only one component of an induction program. Orientation is another. Many school districts simply provide their new teachers with mentors or provide a day of orientation and call it induction. These teachers have not been inducted. They have simply received mentors and orientation.
Mentoring and orientation in and of themselves will do little to aid in the retention of highly qualified new teachers. However, as integral components of a structured induction program, they are valuable. Understand that induction is ongoing and systematic.
and much more.
Teacher induction programs provide beginning teachers the support needed during the often difficult transition from preservice education to actual classroom teaching - from students of teaching to teachers of students.
What Works With New Teachers
Angie Guidry, one of the first-year teachers to complete the Lafourche Parish induction program says, "The new teacher induction . . . has allayed many of my concerns as a teacher . . . I am very grateful for the confidence I've acquired. Every new teacher should be required to attend a new teacher induction."
What new teachers want is an induction program. Only in education do we talk about "mentoring alone." Doctors, factories workers, secretaries, chefs, electricians, and dental hygienists do not receive a mentor. They are trained and guided. Can you imagine an airline that does not train its pilots, but provides each pilot with a mentor and tells them that if they are in trouble at 35,000 feet to call their mentor for reflection?
"We have had tremendous support from the entire district," Ms. Breaux says. "One of our principals told me, 'I don't know if you realize what a difference induction makes. Teachers who have gone through induction are so much more ready to teach.'"
For years the attrition rate of new teachers in the Lafourche Parish Schools in Thibodaux, Louisiana, was around 50 percent.
When the induction program was implemented in 1996, the attrition rate dropped to 12 percent. Today, that number hovers around 4 percent. Of the several hundred new teachers who have been hired since 1996, 99 percent are still teaching and 88 percent are still in the Lafourche Parish Schools.
Perry Rodrigue, Assistant Superintendent, says,
"Of those we asked, all of our new teachers returned the following year. This has never happened until we installed an induction program."
Mentoring Alone Will Not Help New Teachers
Novice teachers want teachers, teachers they can watch teach in their rooms, teachers who will give them activities and lesson plans, teachers who will tell them what to do with those kids who challenge even the best of teachers.
New teachers do not want just a mentor or buddy, who may show up two weeks after the school year begins and may not be trained, compensated, or provided release time to help, much less be in the same building and teach at the same grade level or subject area.
"My brother-in-law is a first year teacher and was having a horrible time. The district provided no induction program and when he asked for help he was told to contact his mentor. He didn't even know her had a mentor. So he called this teacher and informed her that she was his mentor. She said, 'I am?' He said, 'Thanks, but no thanks' and hung up."
What's really scary about all this talk about "mentoring only" is that it has become institutionalized. The press and some professional journals are prescribing it as the standard cure-all for new teachers. If all it takes for a new teacher to succeed is to be simply given a mentor, that is another teacher or buddy, then there is no need for staff developers and administrators or their organizations.
Please understand, we take issue with the word "only" and not the word "mentor." We fully believe in the efficacy of mentors, but what a new teacher needs and deserves is tutor, a master teacher, or, ultimately, a group of teachers, staff developers, and administrators who will teach the new teacher and get him or her up to speed quickly. New teachers want and need a tutor who will teach them how to teach and show them what to do.
Hopewell Loses Only One Teacher
Not all school systems do induction in the same way or with the same kinds of people.
In the school year 1998-1999, the Hopewell, Virginia, school district hired 47 teachers and lost only one of their newly hired teachers. Why? They have an induction program with beaucoup support provided by three or more people. Each new teacher has on site access to a:
Mentor: This is an assigned teacher to whom the novice teacher can run to for immediate, yet simple help, such as school procedural questions or for quick advice.
Coach: This is a teacher with expertise in classroom management and instructional skills. There are presently four in each school which may increase to five if the number of new teachers increases proportionally.
Lead teacher: This is a teacher who can help with subject matter questions. There are five on each campus specializing in five respective areas - English, math, science, social studies, and technology.
The roles of the three people are strictly supportive and non-evaluative. All of the mentors, coaches and lead teachers have received training, are regular teachers in the same building, and receive released time to observe and assist. Lead teachers are financially supported to attend conferences and then conduct workshops on what they have learned.
In addition, the new teachers receive assistance from staff developers and administrators both from the central office and the building site. Principals are the instructional leaders and evaluators. The central office staff provides coordinators and the assistant superintendent, Linda Hyslop, provides the structure and coordination of the new teacher induction process.
Top Ten Questions to Ask
If you should go on an interview, when it is your turn to ask questions, ask the following to help you identify a school or district that is interested in training, supporting, and retaining their new teachers.
10. Is there an induction program for newly hired teachers?
9. How many days does the program run?
8. Who runs the program?
7. What is the course outline?
6. How many years has it been offered?
5. Has the principal of the school been through the induction program?
4. Am I evaluated by any of the people running the induction program?
3. Will my colleagues nurture me as I become a more effective teacher?
2. What is the attrition rate of the new teachers over the past 2 years?
1. What will the school district do to help me if I am not being successful in the classroom?
As Joan Hearne of Wichita, Kansas, says,
"As a central office staff developer, I truly believe in the induction process. If you do not transmit a district's culture, mission, and beliefs as employees join the family, then when do you?"
The children of the world need you. Find a school that needs
you, values you, and wants to support you in your mission of enhancing
young people's lives.
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