I feel like our school has done a few things right that really improve it. One thing we do that I feel is very powerful is team teaching. I teach with a partner in an integrated social studies/ELA class. I so value working with another teacher and I could list many advantages to it, but the one I want to focus on for this post is the huge advantage for new teachers. This year we hired four new teachers as we are a new school adding another class of 100 students each year. Three of them are first year teachers. Also last year one of our original teachers was a first year teacher.
So my partner and I team teach a group of 50 students. The science and math teachers work by themselves half of the time and team teach the other half. Team teaching allows the new teacher to get their feet wet in the classroom without having to be alone with organizing a classroom, preparing content, discipline, and a host of other things. It allows the new teacher to learn from a master teacher over time and plan together. Team teaching is like a paid internship for the new teacher as they are never by themselves. I also think it stretches and grows the mentor teacher too.
From an administration point of view it does not have to cost any extra money because it can be the same teacher to student ratio just with the larger classes. The one problem many schools might have is the space to have these large classrooms, but other than that I think it is a simple yet powerful apprentice model. I think this model of team teaching could be a huge positive change in schools. It would help with retention of young teachers, bring energy to established teachers, and help build skills and confidence in new teachers. I can say I absolutely would have improved greatly as a young teacher if I would of had this opportunity.