both learn more about their disciplines and become reflective about the practice of their professions. Mentoring of novice teachers in the United States has been haphazard at best (Education Trust, 1998; Darling-Hammond and Macdonald, 2000), although a new study by the Urban Teacher Collaborative4 (Haselkorn and Harris, 1998; Fideler and Haselkorn, 1999; Urban Teacher Collaborative, 2000) shows that mentoring has been successful in some large urban areas. While some districts and states pay close attention to the first few years of teachers’ careers, most do not.

Targeted professional development programs: Professional development programs in most professions are directed toward providing practitioners with information and resources that are appropriate for their specific job responsibilities and career levels. Because employers assume that entry-level employees do not yet possess the high-level skills and insights of more senior colleagues, professional development is geared toward the acquisition of increasingly sophisticated lifelong professional skills, perspectives, and learning. Mentors are often useful in helping with this process. In teaching, however, many of the more abstract ideas (e.g., education and learning theory) may be presented before practitioners ever set foot in a classroom. Inservice programs, in turn, may offer more experienced teachers information and perspectives about teaching that might be better suited to preservice students or those who are about to begin their teaching careers.

Encouragement and incentives for continuing education within the profession: Employers who require or encourage people in the early stages of their careers to pursue additional education either pay completely for or subsidize the costs of such advanced training. In turn, it is expected that the employees’ additional education will enhance the skills they need in their current positions and prepare them for new opportunities within the company and profession. Although many school districts now require teachers to complete master’s degrees or continuing education units to obtain lifetime certification, there are few requirements or expectations that teachers will pursue those advanced degrees in the subject areas in which they actually instruct.

Expectations for credentialing of professionals: Statistics indicate that people are changing careers more frequently now than ever before (synthe-

4  

The Urban Teacher Collaborative is a joint initiative sponsored by Recruiting New Teachers, Inc. (<http://www.rnt.org/>), The Council of the Great City Schools (<http://www.cgcs.org>), and The Council of the Great City Colleges of Education (<http://www.cgcs.org/services/Cgcce/index.html>).



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