Book Reviews

How to Help Beginning Teachers Succeed

by Stephen P. Gordon and Susan Maxey


Reviewed by Jerry Horgen
Superintendent, Pipestone-Jasper Public Schools, Pipestone, Minn.

“They just gave us our books and said, ‘Here we go.’"

That's a quote from a beginning teacher described by Stephen P. Gordon and Susan Maxey in their book How to Help Beginning Teachers Succeed. Has that happened to one of your new teachers? With teachers leaving the teaching profession at the rate of 15 percent a year according to the authors and with existing shortages in many areas, the old idea of allegiance to one district is simply gone. We need to nourish and cherish our staff for professional and personal reasons.

As superintendents, we want to improve teaching performance, transmit the culture of the system to every staff member, satisfy mandated requirements for induction and certification, and give new teachers the skills to survive and thrive in their classrooms.

Gordon, who is an associate professor of educational administrator at Southwest State University, and Maxey, a classroom teacher in Austin, Texas, present a complete format in their Beginning Teacher Assistance Program. The program existed through the Ohio State Department of Education. They have developed a blueprint for such a program, including a needs assessment, available resources, a written plan for each new teacher and a summative evaluation.

The 94-page booklet lays out the program in a practical manner for implementation. Their blueprint should save turnover of staff and help make more productive and happier teachers.

(How to Help Beginning Teachers Succeed by Stephen P. Gordon and Susan Maxey, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311, 2000, 94 pp., $13.95 softcover. Available from