Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Education




Dr. Katina Pollock


Teachers benefit from instructional, emotional, institutional and physical supports in their early years of practice (Lipton & Wellman, 2003). Yet, with a teacher surplus in Ontario, many early career teachers (ECTs) spend years in transient, short-term work prior to qualifying for the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP). As school leaders, Ontario elementary principals develop and facilitate supports for the ECTs in their school. However, principals have identified their workloads to be demanding and intensifying (Pollock, 2014b). ECT support development is one of many responsibilities that principals undertake in their work.

This qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews with twelve elementary principals from five school districts in Southern Ontario, Canada to explore these issues and investigate the work of principals in supporting the ECTs in schools. Specifically, this study examined how elementary principals understand ECT supports. It recorded the strategies principals employed to develop and facilitate the supports for ECTs. The influence of ECT support policy on principal work was considered along with the challenges that principals identify in their development and facilitation of supports.

The findings indicate that principals found their work in developing and facilitating ECT supports to be meaningful. Supports were considered an investment in ECTs and principals recognized priority in their support development for the ECTs that invest in their school and teaching practice. Principals indicated challenge in scheduling the development and facilitation of new teacher supports within their intensifying workload. Lastly, a potential policy gap between ECTs being hired and qualifying for NTIP meant principals were not always able to develop and facilitate supports for some of the ECTs that are engaged in short-term teaching assignments, leaving informal supports and self-directed learning as interim solutions until those ECTs gained consistent teaching work.