The importance of school leaders' engagement in socialising newly qualified teachers into the teaching profession
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Leadership in Education. 2017, 20 (4), 468-490. 10.1080/13603124.2015.1048745
This article focuses on the importance of school leaders’ commitment to socialising newly qualified teachers (NQTs) into the teaching profession. Framed by a social constructivist perspective, the article is based on four challenges novice teachers face as described by four school leaders. The aim is to illuminate how school leaders have understood the conflictsand differences that come to light in these challenges. School leaders’ experiences of the encounter between NQTs and schools point to how the facilitation of the teachers’professional development at their schools was challenged and how follow-up and guidance of NQTs only started after the problems were disclosed to colleagues and the School leaders. This study indicates that there is a lack of insight into NQTs’ work situation, a fact that seems to exacerbate a negative development in the school environment. We argue that school leaders must be more proactive by being aware of the dynamics of the teaching team when NQTs join a previously established team. School leaders should communicate the expectations they have for how the team can welcome NQTs’ new ideas, on the one hand, and offer support if they encounter challenges, on the other. Furthermore, Our findings indicate that the composition of teaching teams must be reassessed from year to year so that they serve as an arena that promotes professional development for both NQTs and established teachers. Poor relationships with colleagues and a lack of Cooperation within teacher teams may also have a detrimental effect on student learning. School leaders have a great amount of power and influence, perhaps much more than they are aware of, when it comes to the wellbeing of NQTs and their decision to remain in the profession. We underline the importance of the role school leaders have in socialising NQTs into the teaching profession by paying attention to how they are welcomed and mentored by their colleagues in school.