Lessons From Beginning Teachers: Challenges For School Leaders

Marie Cameron, NZCER Press 2009

Reviewed by Jeanette Clarkin- Phillips

For all those involved in the induction and mentoring of new teachers (in the compulsory schooling sector), this book should quickly become well thumbed and worn around the edges.

Marie Cameron has drawn on national and international research, including a Ministry of Education-funded longitudinal study of 57 early stage career teachers, to provide an accessible and comprehensive resource for the induction and mentoring of beginning teachers. The skilful use of case-study vignettes from the longitudinal research allows the reader ‘real-life’ insights into the experiences, both positive and negative, of beginning teachers.

It also highlights how long-term attitudes to teaching as a career are affected by induction processes. The book provides practical advice for beginning teachers, tutor teachers and school leaders; there is a chapter for everyone. Chapters one, two and four provide ideas, information and practical advice for school leaders and the learning community while chapters three and five are more specifically for mentors and beginning teachers, respectively.

The “taking stock” section at the end of each chapter offers opportunities for those committed to reflective practice to critique and analyse the experiences they provide for beginning teachers.The narratives reporting a negative induction experience illustrate the complexities and busy-ness of school life, often exacerbated by poor leadership. School life is busy and complex, but it is hoped these complexities do not prevent people in schools taking this book and using it as a springboard to examine and enhance their induction and mentoring practices.

This engagement may mean that all beginning teachers experience a well-supported and resourced induction ensuring their retention and ongoing commitment to the teaching profession.

● Jeanette Clarkin‑Phillips is associate director, early childhood programmes, Centre for Teacher Education, School of Education, University of Waikato