Ramesh Chandra Bhandari
Thousands of graduates begin their career as teachers every year in Nepal. As they do not have any experience in dealing with various aspects of the profession, they face many problems. Everyone who starts his/her career in a field expects to receive some kind of orientation of briefing (known as induction) from the senior staff and administrators. But most of the schools donot provide induction to their newly appointed teachers in our context. Due to lack of induction, they face various problems in their career. In this reflective paper, I have tried to discuss the problems faced by beginning teachers due to lack of induction and the benefits of the same.
Induction: A Brief Introduction
The term ‘induction’ means to guide, to introduce or to initiate especially into something demanding, secrete or special knowledge (Cole & Mcnay in Dube, 2008). It is the process or ceremony of introducing someone to new job, organization, or way of life. It is oriented towards adjusting somebody in new a context. Every organization or institution needs to carry induction to help its staff function properly in the beginning of their job.
The beginning teachers or newly qualified teachers (NQTs) should be provided with initial training before they enter into full-fledged teaching.
Teacher induction refers to the assistance, guidance, orientation and support provided to the novice teachers in order to make them familiar with new teaching environment. Through induction, the new teachers can develop knowledge of professional practice, capacity to assess the needs, awareness of future responsibilities, dedication to the profession and ability to maximize the use of the resources available around. Teachers should also be trained to adopt the new innovations that occur in their professional areas. In this regard, Wong (2004) states that induction is a “Comprehensive, coherent, and sustained professional development process – that is organized by a school to train, support, and retain new teachers and seamlessly progress them into a lifelong learning program.”
There is no formal provision of teacher induction in the field of teaching in Nepal, though there are some informal modalities of induction launched by private institutions. There are many challenges for teachers in Nepal and they continue to face them due to lack of proper induction from the schools in the beginning of their career.
My experience of ‘being’ a teacher
When I joined the teaching profession, I expected assistance from the seniors, colleagues, and head teachers but I did not get such help. I felt lost and disoriented when I stepped into the class for the first time. I couldn’t utilize the theoretical knowledge into practice. I had theoretical idea about different teaching methods like grammar translation method, direct method, audio-lingual method, etc. and different techniques like pair work, group work, dramatization, role play, different language games and so on but I forgot everything. I felt very uneasy to express even the things which I was well familiar. I lost my confidence and even if the students laughed in their own matter, I used to think that I had made some mistakes.
Similarly, I also faced different problems regarding classroom management, students’ response and behaviour, handling subject matter, instructional techniques, administrative and co-worker relationship, adjustment to overall school environment, curriculum, evaluation system, etc.The number of students in my class was very large and the environment was completely new to mewhich created difficult situation to manage the classes. It wasdifficult to motivate and make the students ready to study, lead the class in the proper direction, and check class work and homework in the class. At the same time, it was also hard to maintain proper classroom conduct among the students. There used to be several queries of the students regarding my teaching items, but I was unable to manage the answers to all of them.
When I graduated in ELT, I thought I knew a lot of things about English language teaching but I realized that I just knew the theories. I didn’t feel very comfortable with my co-teachers. I received few support from administration but no help from the other teachers. I expected a huge support from everyone but they were only busy in taking his/her own class and no one cared for what a new teacher was doing. Only few of them shared their ideas, experiences, information and techniques with me.
I found it hard to understand the overall school environment as it was my first experience as a teacher. I was in a state of confusion and had no guideline from the seniors on a regular basis. I felt problems to adjust myself with the rules and regulations of the school, understanding students’ psychology, their nature and it took me some time to recognize all those. Likewise, I didn’t have sufficient knowledge of curriculum as the course was new and I had very few ideas about the proper ways to handle the tasks that were given in the prescribed course. I had to study and practice a lot hard to handle the subject matter.
I had many problems related to evaluation of the performance of the students. I had no idea about evaluation system of my school at that time. I faced many problems regarding class tests, unit tests, responding to students’ immediate problems, interval between different examinations.
How did I overcome these problems?
If I had been introduced to these systems properly in the beginning, I would have been able to feel comfortable and perform better. Though all the teachers are in favour of teacher induction, it is not practiced in teaching properly. In the beginning, I had no idea how to face the problems I encountered. Later, I thought I should do something to help myself overcome them. I started adopting different techniques. I tried to take the help from my colleagues, head teachers, administrators and even with the students. I got positive responses from some of them but not all. I tried my best. But in some cases it was not possible to overcome those difficulties myself. My seniors and the principal also helped me to make teaching and learning activities effective. I also consulted with teachers from other schools.
My Observation and Suggestions
Over the months, I have realized that teacher induction is essential for the professional development of the beginning teachers. I faced various challenges and problems due to the lack of proper induction. As a treacher who has completed a graduate course to be a teacher, I had enough theories in my mind but I severely lacked the practical skills and understanding of the context I had started working. From my own experience, theories and discussion with other teachers, I have come to realize that, induction helps new teachers solve the problems they encounter in their early stage of teaching career. Here are my suggestions for the effective implementation of induction program:
- All the novice teachers should be provided with teacher induction program while they enter into the profession. Lack of induction might give them bitter experience which results in negativity towards the profession.
- Novice teachers should be provided with the idea of dealing with the subject matter, maintaining relationship with administration, co-worker and students, maintaining discipline in the classroom, addressing students’ problems and so on.
- There should be regular provision of collaboration and interaction between novice and veteran teachers at the regular basis. Workshops, seminar, and group should be conducted for the professional and personal development of the teachers.
- Teacher induction should be made flexible, decentralized, regular and accessible to all. So, the policy should be formulated accordingly. Government should provide sufficient numbers of teacher mentors, supervisors, resources to implement induction program properly.
- Teacher training program organizers and teacher educators like Ministry of Education (MoE), NELTA, NCED should include and focus on the role of teacher induction program as one of the most effective means for teachers’ professional development (TPD).
Dube, W. S. (2008). The induction of novice teachers in community junior secondary schools in Gaborone, Botswana. An M.Ed. thesis, University of South Africa.
Griffin, C. C. et al. (2003). New Teacher Induction in Special Education. COPSSE Documents No. RS-5.
Wong, H. K. (2004). Induction programs that keep new teachers teaching and improving. NASSP Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 638.
Ramesh Chandra Bhandari
Teacher at Neelbarahi Higher Secondary School, Kalimati, Kathmandu