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Teacher induction is best understood in the larger context of teacher education. The education of teachers is a continuum of on-going activities and experiences, including pre-service preparation, induction, and in-service development.
Viewed in this context, it is clear that programs addressing the induction period (induction and mentoring programs) need to function as logical extensions of the preservice program and as entry pieces in a larger career-long professional development program. Induction programs acknowledge that beginning teachers have recently completed teacher-preparation programs. Such support enables beginning teachers to continue to develop their teaching skills while confronting the adjustment difficulties often encountered during the first years in the classroom. It is important, also, to clarify that induction programs can serve both beginning teachers and experienced teachers new to a district or school. From this transition stage, teachers then proceed to a staff-development program that provides opportunities for continued professional growth.
Because of the importance and complexity of beginning teachers’ experiences, their socialization has received increased attention in educational research and reform during the past two decades (Huling-Austin, 1990; Veenman, 1984). Taking full responsibility for the teaching and learning of a group of students is often an eye-opening experience. Because the reality of the classroom can be so different from the portrayals of teaching presented in coursework and textbooks, beginning teachers may begin to wonder if they have chosen the wrong profession.
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