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Higher Education
UHCL extends support, resources for new teachers
Press Release
Thursday, November 29, 2018

HOUSTON, November 29, 2018 — This semester, students graduating from University of Houston-Clear Lake with teaching certifications will receive something they might need even more than their diplomas: support in the classroom as they transition from student to teacher.

To celebrate graduates’ achievements and to spotlight the College of Education’s resources and support for new teachers in their first year, a Teacher Induction Ceremony will be held Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bayou Theater.

Joan Pedro, associate dean for the College of Education introduced this ceremony for spring 2018 graduates, hoping to make it a tradition for graduates to be celebrated, along with their families. The induction ceremony marks the teacher candidates’ entry into the teaching profession. “We want our teacher candidates to know that we are proud of their accomplishments and will continue to support them in the field with their continued professional development,” Pedro said.

Greater Houston-area school districts suffer from high teacher turnovers, Texas Education Agency retention data show, indicating a lack of support for new teachers.

“We’ve been leading a research group focused on new teachers’ challenges and how to support them as they transition into their first year of teaching,” said Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Denise McDonald. “A third of our faculty is part of this group, and we are working on creating the initiatives new teachers need to be successful. This ceremony is a celebration of our graduates, but it’s more than that. We are working on a platform from which we can directly inform our former students about how we can support them in their new job.”

McDonald said in addition to the online platform, she and her colleagues in the College of Education were working on creating workshops to be taken out into the field, where teachers were working. “We can’t expect teachers to come to us, they’re too busy and they might be overwhelmed,” she said. “We envision going out to schools for workshops and professional development opportunities. We are creating a website that will include a ‘Dear Abby’-style column which allows for questions and answers. It’s all about mentoring and supporting new teachers.”

She added that the state of Texas would be requiring universities to be accountable to demonstrate their continued support of their teachers who had graduated to help ensure their success in the classroom. “We are putting these programs in place now and we will be ahead when that happens,” she said.

McDonald says mentoring is something her colleagues in the College of Education do best. “The faculty is very committed and insightful, and they’re collecting resources,” she said. “We are working to create the right platform so the teachers will have a great resource once they leave.”

She said that 96 percent of UHCL’s graduates in the teaching profession stayed in after five years. “That reflects our ability to train and prepare teachers,” she said. “We have to continue. Teachers who aren’t being supported don’t do as well. We want them to know we are here for them in the early years, working in the trenches and through the hard knocks.”

Remembering Jim Guidry M3 Global Medical Missions

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