Copyright © 2019 Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT)                                                                                              

Commitment to teacher development over time

beginning teachers, who are often expected to become highly proficient instructors through one to two semesters of coursework and practica and a semester of student teaching, are more likely to have fragmented understandings of how to teach due to their multiple conceptions of effective teaching that are often in conflict with one another. (p. 342)


Beginning teachers need time to make sense of how preparation experiences and their beginning teaching context are similar and different (Kutaka et al., 2017).  They also need time to establish who they are in the classroom. The early years of teaching give way to increasing complexity and sophistication of teaching practice as understandings and applications are no longer compartmentalized and separate from classroom experiences.

Feiman-Nemser’s (2001) proposal for a professional learning continuum suggests a curricular framework for professional

Understanding beginning teacher effectiveness requires that we see effectiveness as something that develops over time.  Our perspective in this handbook encompasses the years of teacher preparation through the first three years of beginning teachers’ practice. Barnes and Smagorinsky (2016) noted:

education that accounts for seamless professional development starting in pre-service preparation, transitioning through the induction period of the beginning educator (defined as the first three years of teaching), and then shifting to the continuing professional development for the experienced or accomplished professional.  The important tasks for each of these three periods are listed in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1

Central Tasks of Learning to Teach


It is important that our preparation programs and P-12 school partners jointly understand the expectations of what beginning teachers should be able to do early in their careers.  Traditionally, teacher preparation programs and
P-12 schools experience a gap in institutional expectations of teaching practices.  Establishing mutually agreeable expectations of beginning teachers make clear that beginning teachers are not expected to be an expert in every dimension of teaching on their first day of teaching. Beginning expectations can also make clear that ongoing professional learning does not end when candidates complete their preparation programs.  Finally, school-based supports including induction with mentoring are critical to enabling the development of effective teaching during the first three years of teaching.