|New Qualified Teachers: Impact On/Interaction with the System (Trinidad & Tobago) (CIE, 2000, 29 p.)|
Research on beginning teachers and how they experience the process of beginning to teach has focused on the prior beliefs of beginning teachers, the teacher education experience and the first years of practice (Wideen, Mayer-Smith, & Moon, 1998). Most of these studies, however, have focused on pre-service teachers who enter teacher education programs with no prior classroom experience and whose first year as newly qualified teachers is their first year in the classroom except for their teaching practice.
In Trinidad and Tobago this is not usually the case. The recruitment and selection process for primary school teachers in Trinidad and Tobago require applicants to possess at least five passes at the General Certificate Examination (GCE) O-level or Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations at the General Proficiency Level, in at least three subject groups: mathematics, English language and a science subject. It is not compulsory for recruits to be professionally trained before they begin their teaching careers. In many instances, recruits are assigned to schools before having had the benefit of professional teacher training. Over the last five to eight years, therefore, most of the teachers who entered Teachers' College in Trinidad and Tobago would have had at least two years experience as assistant teachers at the primary school level. In this study, all the newly qualified teachers had been in the classroom as assistant teachers for at least two years prior to being trained. They may have been given a short induction course, placed with an experienced teacher or have been involved in the On the Job Training programme before going into the classroom.