RECOMMENDATION 5: Partners should jointly select and train mentor teachers and strategically place candidates
Mentor teacher quality and student teacher placement are critical to the clinical experience. Strong partners work together to identify what mentor teachers need to be successful and are intentional about selecting the right people to fill those roles. They also thoughtfully build mentor teacher capacity, through professional development activities and leadership opportunities and place student teachers with intentionality.
Steps You Can Take
- Identify criteria for mentor and student teachers together. Strong partners know that strengthening the student teaching experience can be a critical place to start, as it impacts both pipeline for districts and the coursework teacher preparation programs offer.
- Aggressively recruit (and thoughtfully select) mentors and student teachers. To get the right mentors, partners (often with districts taking the lead) must aggressively recruit them to the role. This must be done thoughtfully to help ensure a positive experience for both mentors and student teachers.
- Build mentor teacher capacity. Once partners have selected mentor teachers, they must build their leadership and mentoring skills by providing professional development, coaching and other supports.
- Place student teachers in high needs schools, when possible, and provide supports to ensure their success. Partners must intentionally place student teachers in high-needs schools, as these are often the schools new teachers are hired into. However, partners must also ensure that these schools provide a strong clinical experience and must commit to providing the support needed to help student and mentor teachers succeed.