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Preliminary Results: Philadelphia New Teacher Survey

The authors designed and administered a survey to new teachers entering the Philadelphia school system in 2002 in order to gather information about the teachers’ experiences with hiring, school placement, class and grade assignment, school start-up, supplies, and the overall environment in their school. The survey, which was completed by 366 teachers at a new teacher induction session on October 23rd, 2002, also contained questions about the teachers’ credentials, prior teaching experience, and certification status. (As of the end of October 2002, the District had hired a total of 598 new teachers). This report presents findings from the first stage of analysis of the data from the survey. The data showed the following: many teachers are hired late, often after the start of the school year, and most do not know where they will be teaching until shortly before or even after school starts; new teachers are given minimal support before school starts and in the early weeks (e.g., lack of essential supplies and paperwork, no contact with mentor, no professional development); greater than 50 percent of new teachers hired had no prior teaching experience other than student teaching and 50 percent have emergency certification. However, in general teachers did report that they felt their schools were safe, clean, and reasonably calm, and that they themselves were able to manage their classes effectively.