A recent survey of teachers reveals that classroom management, differentiating instruction and delivering effective intervention strategies are among new teachers' greatest concerns, according to Staff Development for Educators, which conducted the "New Teacher Survey."
SDE, which provides professional development training, seminars and conferences, and educator resources, polled more than 450 new and experienced teachers and administrators to learn more about the challenges new teachers face.
Gerald Hughes, SDE president, admits that classroom management, differentiating instruction and delivering effective interventions have always been top challenges for teachers. But today, more than ever before, teachers need to meet standards and achieve certain test scores in a difficult environment, he says. "And I think teachers and administrators are starting to realize their success is linked to the success of their colleagues," Hughes says. "That's the new information that comes out of this survey."
One out of three educators indicated that college did not adequately prepare them to teach, making the transition from student to effective teacher more demanding, the survey states. Hughes says that some teacher colleges are catching on to the idea of using intersessions, such as in January, between the spring and fall semesters, to focus on giving students in teacher colleges practical classroom experience, and give them a sense of what differentiated instruction means, for example.
But more than half of the educators, 57 percent, indicated they attended public conferences and seminars early in their careers to bolster their skills, with 82 percent participating in on-site professional development workshops and programs as new teachers. While Hughes admits not all professional development is successful, he does say that professional development, done properly, at the micro-level for teachers and administrators helps "them become better at what they do."
Customized forms of professional development, such as focused on 21st century skills or Singapore Math, that is also timely and coincides with what's being taught in class at that time, are most beneficial, he says.