Teacher induction needs to do more than just ease new teachers' entry into their role; it needs to welcome them into a collaborative professional learning community.
The challenges of beginning teaching have been documented for decades. From Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase
(Harper-Collins, 1966) to Esmé Raji Codell's
Educating Esmé (Algonquin, 1999), autobiographical accounts of idealistic beginners battling bureaucratic requirements, struggling to build relation ships with students and families, and gaining self-understanding and pedagogical know-how have been a staple of the education literature.
Formal studies, too, have examined beginning teachers' concerns, aspirations, and learning needs. Almost 50 years ago, Lortie (1966) likened the new teacher to Robinson Crusoe, marooned on a desert island and facing the challenges of survival alone. In a more recent study, Johnson (2004) found that new teachers often feel lost at sea, with little or no guidance from colleagues or curriculum. Despite changes in the backgrounds of teachers and the contexts of teaching, two themes persist: The early years of teaching are undeniably a time of intense learning, and they are often a time of intense loneliness.