First weeks and first term

Beginning teachers need to absorb a lot of information during their first few weeks in a new school. Due to this, the buddy teacher, supervisor and mentor/ coach play key roles at this time.

Depending on the school context and the individual beginning teacher, the length of time dedicated to this part of the induction process will vary.

It is anticipated that most beginning teachers will feel confident to move beyond this step around the second half of Term 1.

The 5C model

The 5C model of school-based induction provides a framework for the school and each beginning teacher to work together and make the early weeks of teaching rewarding and successful.

The framework also assists each beginning teacher and their supervisor to develop an individual personal induction plan for the beginning teacher.

The 5C model has 5 components: customised, connections, context, curriculum and classroom.

In the first weeks, the emphasis will be on contextual information such as focusing on 'where to go' and 'how to get things done'. Later in the induction process, the focus will shift to context, curriculum and classroom.

Often the best time to access 'context' information is at the point of need. Most initial context information can be provided by a buddy teacher, or by referring to the school handbook. The curriculum and classroom information will surface during planning time with the supervisor and/ or the mentor/ coach.

Using the model in the first weeks and term

Suggestions to customise the induction process to accommodate needs during the first weeks and first term.

Schools could assist beginning teachers by:

  • detailing school-based induction processes
  • organising classroom observations and co-teaching based on needs
  • assisting with prioritisation of policies and procedures to avoid information overload
  • monitoring progress and accommodating emerging needs as they arise
  • assisting with the development of a personal professional learning plan and identifying appropriate professional learning opportunities
  • setting up processes and support regarding accreditation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

Beginning teachers could assist schools by:

  • attending and engaging positively in meetings with school personnel
  • engaging in reflective practice to identify emerging needs
  • monitoring progress against their personal professional learning plan
  • sharing and celebrating successes
  • suggesting school-based strategies that would best support emerging needs.

Suggestions to ensure connections are available with more experienced teachers and other beginning teachers during the first weeks.

Schools could assist beginning teachers by:

  • organising a debriefing time at the end of each day
  • devoting time to planning and classroom support, including co-teaching
  • organising a morning tea/ social occasion to welcome beginning teachers
  • presenting or providing a welcome kit that contains ‘essential items' that the staff feel are important to surviving the early weeks, for example a whistle or a bundle of reward tokens
  • providing opportunities for beginning teachers to formally introduce themselves to staff/ faculty describing areas of interest and/or expertise
  • locating networks such as beginning teacher networks, subject area networks, virtual faculties
  • informing beginning teachers of the accreditation procedures.

Beginning teachers could assist schools by:

  • getting to know their colleagues
  • seeking out and accepting support
  • sharing areas of expertise and/or interest
  • engaging positively in school activities
  • participating in any networks that may be available
  • establishing relationships with other beginning teachers.

Suggestions to ensure ongoing information about the school context is provided during the first few weeks.

Schools could assist beginning teachers by:

  • explaining specific support and extra-curricular programs, for example homework centre, breakfast program
  • providing literacy/ numeracy programs
  • explaining links with other schools, the local community, services such as Community Health and Police
  • explaining procedures for entering and leaving classrooms and the school, such as where classes line up, late arrival of students, roll marking, leaving the school premises during school time and so on
  • explaining procedures for staff, such as signing on and off duty, who to notify if unable to attend work, applying for leave and so on
  • explaining the technology available in classrooms, purchase requests, room and resource bookings (such as computer lab, multi-media room, laptops, iPads), accessing stationery and art supplies, collecting sport and excursion money and so on
  • outlining staff communication procedures
  • providing school times, such as opening and closing hours and bell times
  • outlining specific school rules and consequences as well as any specific school behaviour programs such as Positive Behaviour for Learning)
  • providing school handbook, class lists, whole school timetable
  • providing recent school reports, school plan, relevant syllabuses
  • providing playground duty rosters, bus duty rosters, procedures for wet weather, including school policy and rules relating to the playground
  • outlining information regarding the student population and their families, for example those who speak a language other than English as their first language, identify as AboriginaI or Torres Strait Islander
  • explaining the religious groups students may identify with and any ethnic and religious issues relating to students and their families
  • explaining special needs, medical requirements, assessment information, student profiles, student records
  • describing how the school communicates with parents and caregivers and the current contact details for parents/ carers and procedures for contacting them, parent information sessions and expectations of teachers regarding these sessions.

Beginning teachers could assist schools by:

  • maintaining an ongoing list of questions as they arise
  • becoming familiar with the range of programs that are in the school
  • gradually learning about the school policies and procedures and knowing who to ask when unsure
  • finding out how best to communicate with parents/ caregivers
  • taking time to get to know the students by talking to them and colleagues.

Suggestions to ensure ongoing curriculum knowledge, understanding and practices are examined during the first weeks.

Schools could assist beginning teachers by:

  • outlining and explaining the expectations around planning and programming and how syllabuses support these processes
  • assisting with planning and programming
  • demonstrating how ongoing assessment links to planning
  • outlining assessment processes
  • co-planning lessons for at least the first 2 weeks of teaching
  • explaining content overviews and school scopes and sequences
  • providing professional learning required for any school programs
  • co-teaching and providing demonstration lessons with beginning teachers
  • providing feedback and encouraging reflective practice
  • organising classroom observations in colleagues' classes
  • modelling specific strategies and processes, particularly to show how to cater for a range of student abilities.

Beginning teachers could assist schools by:

  • engaging in co-teaching
  • participating in cooperative planning sessions
  • being confident and enthusiastic
  • seeking and accepting feedback and using feedback as a tool for improvement
  • identifying personal areas of need
  • reflecting in terms of what worked and didn’t work at the end of each lesson and day
  • requesting demonstration lessons or co-teaching lessons to assist overcoming areas of need.

Suggestions to ensure ongoing classroom knowledge, understanding and practices are explored during the first weeks.

Schools could assist beginning teachers by demonstrating how to:

  • use lesson starters that cue students into learning
  • set and communicate learning goals for lessons
  • describe success criteria
  • chunk learning into manageable bits
  • sequence a lesson
  • pace and time lessons and lesson transitions
  • set up and implement a classroom management plan
  • establish order, begin and conclude lessons
  • negotiate consequences for acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour with students
  • establish routines within the classroom such as movement, collection and distribution of texts.

Beginning teachers could assist schools by:

  • knowing the content and planning how to explain it
  • keeping lessons focused on student learning
  • building positive relationships with students
  • combining enjoyment and hard work
  • expecting high standards
  • observing how experienced teachers use pacing and timing, establish routines, maintain expectations for appropriate behaviour
  • projecting the voice clearly and confidently
  • giving effective directions – such as gaining attention first, minimising the number of directions issued, making them clear and easy to follow, writing down more complicated directions, checking that students understand, checking that students are carrying out directions
  • demonstrating whole class awareness, such as the 'eyes in the back of the head'
  • using rewards judiciously
  • being consistent and ensuring fairness.

The Personal induction planner (PIP) can be used to begin recording and monitoring progress through the early weeks of teaching. Use it to plan and record ongoing processes, reflect on experiences, celebrate successes and consider emerging needs and challenges.

Return to top of page Back to top