Supporting Early Career & Non-Traditional Educators

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, teaching is one of the largest occupations in the United States with an estimated 1.9 million jobs available by 2024. The number of new teachers who enter the workforce through non-traditional pre-service programs is steadily increasing alongside a surge in early career educators. With rising numbers of new educators in the workforce, the challenge at hand now is how to best support early-career and non-traditional educators. In this blog, we will discuss effective ways to support and sustain early-career and non-traditional educators through professional development, curriculum support and feedback. 

Establish A Mentoring Program 

Many new teachers enter the classroom with little to no curriculum experience or practice teaching, offering a whole new set of challenges to new educators. The solution, however, now lies in the experiences of seasoned educators who can provide strategies and guidance to acclimate new teachers to their role. Implementing a mentorship program between experienced teachers and new educators is a valuable practice that offers many benefits in today’s educational landscape by ensuring support is accessible and applicable.   

A mentor can help a new teacher establish healthy relationships with students and effective classroom strategies and methods by providing experience, feedback and an example for them to learn from. A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. New teachers can benefit from someone who readily answers their questions or points them in the right direction. Developing a relationship between early career educators and experienced teachers offers an impactful solution to the problem of lacking experience many early career and non-traditional educators face. Through a mentorship program, administrators and schools are able to better serve new teachers by creating a community between educators and ensuring support through direct access.    

Provide Curriculum Support 

Do you know the lesson materials everyone has been using successfully for years? The new teachers need time to learn how to both understand them and implement them in their classrooms. Dedicate time and space for early career and non-traditional educators to learn about the materials they need to teach successfully. Allow them to ask questions, model lessons, and receive support before practicing in front of their students.  

While Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, are common for educators, providing a dedicated space for early career & non-traditional educators to feel supported and learn the tools of their trade can benefit them before joining the larger Professional Learning Communities filled with their more experienced peers.  

Create a Feedback Loop 

It is crucial to regularly check in with educators and use their feedback to improve and adjust your support, from an administrator's perspective. A feedback loop is a casual way to check in on your support processes to evaluate your effectiveness and strengthen your support practices. Don't wait until the end of the year to see what support is needed by early career and non-traditional educators. Throughout the school year, teachers should be provided opportunities to give and receive feedback.  

An example of a simple monthly or quarterly check-in is to consider asking teachers to tell you two things that went well, along with one area of opportunity for you to support them better. This gives administrators and other more experienced educators insight into where early career and non-traditional educators feel helped and ideas to further improve your support. 

As the CTE landscape continues to grow and change, early career and non-traditional educators are important contributors to the success of the next generation of the workforce. As these individuals play a key role in CTE it’s important for administrators and fellow educators to support the needs of early career and non-traditional educators to allow them to fully add the value they have to offer students. To learn more about how to support early career and non-traditional educators stay tuned for more blogs and keep an eye on our social media for more resources.  


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    About the Author

Knikole_Headshot_Web-pngKnikole Taylor has an extensive background in Career & Technical Education (CTE). She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M Commerce and her master’s in education administration from Lamar University. During her time in education, Taylor served as a campus and district administrator for nine years and a teacher for 10 years. Taylor has a passion for designing and delivering learning experiences.