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Teacher Development Framework: Supporting Beginning Teachers Growth on the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS)

Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) working with the Innovation Center 4 Educator Preparation (IC4EP) network are committed to collaborate with partner districts to recruit and train candidates to meet the needs of students in their communities. Through this partnership, EPPs and district partners engage in a collaborative effort to ensure that all those in the teacher support team, including field supervisors, mentors, course instructors, campus administrators, and teacher candidates, have a shared understanding and can measure the competencies that teacher candidates and beginning teachers need to master. The Teacher Development Framework (TDF) is a tool that supports the teacher support team as they deliver consistent, high-quality feedback.

The TDF was created in response to the need to decrease how overwhelmed beginning teachers become. Many of these teachers leave the profession after five years. A report from the University of Houston concluded that 26.4 percent of teachers were not retained three years after entering the profession (following a single cohort) (2021).

One of the reasons novice teachers leave the profession is because they feel unsupported. Research shows that having a quality mentor can lead to new teacher increased effectiveness and retention (Ingersoll and Strong, 2011). The TDF, based on the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), offers support to educators, mentors, coaches, and evaluators as they develop a consistent, shared understanding of what each T-TESS dimension means in practice for a beginning teacher and use common terminology and structure to organize evidence and provide feedback. 

The framework organizes the T-TESS dimensions into benchmarks for new teachers at the 30-, 60-, 90-, 120-, and 180-day mark of their teaching practice. The purpose of prioritizing the dimensions is to set focused expectations for teacher development. This is done with the understanding that beginning teachers will develop simultaneously in all dimensions and that this development will happen at different rates. In addition to prioritizing the dimensions, the framework includes a coaching guide to support the new teacher support team (mentor, field supervisor, campus administrator) as they cohere in language, coaching support, and interventions. 

The TDF is designed as a complementary guide to the T-TESS rubrics. The Prioritized Dimensions section of this framework can facilitate coaching and mentoring conversations and set goals with the beginning teacher, intern, or clinical teacher. Notice that the coaching section of the framework only includes three of the performance levels. This was done intentionally for ease of use. It is unrealistic, but not impossible, to expect a new teacher to achieve accomplished and distinguished levels of performance during their first year in the classroom.

The Coaching Tool provides resources for field supervisors, mentors, and administrators to plan for the series of conversations that make up an observation cycle (pre, during, and post). The Dimension Support section in the Coaching Tool has additional space so that programs and districts can fill in the supports that best align with their organizations’ initiatives. 

Prioritizing competencies and skills for novice teachers and teacher candidates can help to reduce how overwhelmed novice teachers can become as they begin to understand the demanding expectations of the teaching profession. Teacher educators and those in the teacher support team use the TDF to ensure that novice teachers’ development is explicit to their individual needs, while providing them with specific and aligned high-quality feedback and support. But most importantly, the mutually beneficial partnership between teacher preparation programs and district partners proves to be instrumental to our newest educators.

 


References
Horn, Catherine, Christopher Burnett, Sherri Lowery, and Chaunté White. 2021. Texas Teacher Workforce Report Prepared for Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT). University of Houston College of Education. https://www.uh.edu/education/research/institutes-centers/erc/reports-publications/ryht-report-20211.pdf.

Ingersoll, Richard, and Michael Strong. 2011. "The Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for Beginning Teachers: A Critical Review of the Research." Review of Education Research 81 (2): 201–233. https://doi.org/10.3102%2F0034654311403323.