Helping Beginning Teachers to Thrive

When asked why they began teaching, educators often describe the magic of helping students learn, grow, and explore as their reason.  

Then the realities of the classroom hit, and the magic disappears as teachers struggle with discipline issues and other challenging circumstances.

The result? Beginning teachers frequently seek out a “better” school, looking for a classroom that’s closer to their concept of ideal. 

For Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Salem, Oregon, this created problems: both the lost investment in training and development, as well as a sense of transience among students who value consistency and security at school.

But Salem-Keizer was able to reverse this trend, retaining beginning teachers and developing them into the outstanding professionals they aspired to be. In short, they helped these teachers rekindle the magic of teaching.

And they did it with mentors.

Watch the Salem-Keizer story and see how mentoring might help in your own schools

Over a short period of time, Salem-Keizer went from 57% teacher retention to 98% retention. Not only that, but their beginning teachers found that they wanted to stay, even in the district’s most challenging schools.

Karen Spiegel, Mentor Program Coordinator for Salem-Keizer Public Schools, detailed the district’s successful mentoring program at the 2014 School Improvement Innovation Summit in Salt Lake City. In this video segment, Ms. Spiegel shares her expertise on creating a culture where beginning teachers thrive.

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