The institute not only will serve as a resource to aid the transition of new teachers into the field, but also will build a collaborative community of local educators, both new and experienced.
“Schools of education are providing one of the most important services in America today, training our future teachers who will prepare our children to succeed in work and in life,” said Isabelle Cherney, dean of the education school and director of the institute.
“Few other responsibilities are more directly linked to our future. Yet, new teachers find themselves overwhelmed, especially right out of school,” she said. “Attrition is particularly high one to two years after teachers have started their careers. The Merrimack Institute for New Teacher Support is here to provide an ongoing community and to guide and mentor new and current teachers. It will serve as a model for engaging and retaining teachers not only regionally, but also nationally.”
The first few years in the field for a new teacher is a crucial transition time, and often determines the teacher’s likelihood of remaining in the profession. The National Center for Education Statistics noted in 2015 that 51 percent of new teachers report being under great stress several days a week.
Providing additional support, resources, guidance and professional-development opportunities to new teachers in their first few years can ease the transition from novice to professional, and provide early educators with more tools and strategies to improve retention.
The institute will offer professional-development opportunities and collaborative workshops, access to a supportive online network of beginning and seasoned teachers in the local area, as well as educational symposiums.