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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 20, Number 1, September 2007

Teacher induction, retention, and mentoring Conference

October 26–27

October 26–27, 2007 conference "Joining hands: Network for building collaborative cultures and practices--Teacher induction, retention, and mentoring is presented by the UBC School Leadership Centre.

Jane Miles and Tom Howe from The New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Richard Lange and Scott Scarfidi from ASCD’s Mentoring, Leadership, and Resource Network will join BC educators on October 26 and 27, 2007, in exploring the importance of induction and mentoring programs for teachers. (http://slc.educ.ubc.ca)

The next five years will see enormous demographic changes in the classrooms of British Columbia. As experienced teachers leave the profession, BC will likely lose a vast bank of teacher expertise.

  • Each year for the past five years approximately 1,500 teachers have retired. This past year the figure was 1,805. With about 35% of the teaching workforce between the ages of 50 and 59, and an average retirement age of 59, we can expect retirements to remain close to 2005 levels for at least the next five years. This means we can expect approximately 10,000 retirements over the next five years.

  • The universities and university-colleges in the province graduate approximately 1,800 to 2,000 from teacher education programs per year. Ten thousand teachers with many years of experience will therefore be replaced by a cohort of new teachers. Together with recent retirements, this will change the demographics of the teacher population in BC.
  • There are approximately 6,400 teachers with five or fewer years teaching experience. This represents about 19% of the teacher workforce.
  • There are currently about 6,536 teachers on call. This number is about 900 more than recorded in the January 2006 snapshot.

Considerable work is under way to cope with the transition of positional leadership (principals, vice-principals, superintendents). However, there is an urgent need to ensure that the accumulated knowledge and experience of teachers is captured and passed on to those entering the profession, so the potential for teacher leadership can also be recognized and developed. This might happen through a number of approaches, including teacher inquiry and mentoring. Some school districts (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver), universities, and the BCTF have already embarked upon initiatives to begin addressing this issue. The BCTF, for instance, currently supports teacher inquiry and mentoring in several school districts. UBC has developed a number of courses and projects with school districts to assist teachers in developing their research and leadership skills. We need to find ways to build on those initiatives, develop others, form networks, and to disseminate knowledge and processes throughout BC.

Registration information for this conference is available at: http://slc.educ.ubc.ca/JoiningHands/October2007Conference/Joining Hands-ConferenceProgram.htm. For more information contact: Dr. John C. Moss, t: 604-827-5350, f: 604-822-8234, e-mail: slc.edu@ubc.ca, web: www.slc.educ.ubc.ca.

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