Beyond the One-to-One
The Professional Teaching Standards clearly encourages us to: create opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and administrators to contribute to schoolwide events and learning activities, to ensure that all students’ diverse needs are met.
Many mentors (past and present) and beginning teachers seize the moment to bring all the possibilities of a meaningful, exhilarating learning experience to their practice. They are innately compelled to go beyond the basic one-to-one interaction and to expand their mutual goals of seeking out resources which will enhance their school communities.
I am delighted to provide paraphrased accounts of four distinct mentor outreaches that illustrate this extension of collaborative commitment.
Phillip Incarnato – Bringing City Hall to the Classroom
A first-year social studies teacher was beginning a lesson on civics pertaining to the community and the City’s impact on its development.
On learning this, his mentor, Phillip, offered to co-plan a power point presentation with a representative from the Mayor’s Office on Development and Special Projects. Mayor Bloomberg’s Assistant Commissioner participated by presenting an overview and an energizing question-and-answer period on City involvement with community affairs.
The students were exposed to the current as well as future community projects and the intricacies involved with their implementation. The students asked relevant questions but most of all voiced legitimate concerns. All in all, a great meeting! The students responded with acknowledgement on the importance of active participation.
A lesson well-learned.
Linda Mandracchia – Taking the Workshop Initiative
Working with four beginning teachers on the elementary level, Linda was approached one day to assist the Literacy Coach with Month-by-Month Phonics. She decided to help out by designing a workshop. The idea was well-accepted and had the support of many on staff.
It turned out to be a great opportunity to build a community of teachers and learners, in a warm and welcoming environment, which promoted positive interactions with all in attendance.
Cynthia Feaster – Repeat Command Performance
When several second-year teachers, as well as other former mentees, expressed the desire to meet with Cynthia regularly, she knew she had made a difference in their professional lives, understanding the significance of this empowering work which communicates, “I care.”
Her role has become expansive as principals and assistant principals request the same kind of professional development created for first-year teachers also be extended to other staff members, very often after-school. Providing “Teacher Tips” packets and informational memos has been well-appreciated by colleagues and administration.
She credits the New Teacher Induction Program as an invaluable resource for her own professional development.
Gairre Henry – Meet and Greet the Author
Two years ago, Gairre was solely responsible for renowned author Walter Dean Myers accepting an invitation to attend a “Meet and Greet Our Author” event at Freedom Academy High School. She facilitated a collaborative effort among three mentees guided at this location.
Each new educator prepared their classes for the Meet and Greet by selecting a book written by this distinguished author. The works included: One More River to Cross, Autobiography of My Dead Brother, and Monster
After formal greetings, the program began in the school library and Mr. Myers related that Lorelle Henry, (Gairre’s mother present in the audience), was his former teacher. This exciting announcement received a rousing applause. After hearing his words of wisdom, students and staff made special presentations.
Walter Dean Myers then spent individual time with all of the students attending; locking eyes¸ sharing laughter and autographing each and every book. It was reportedly a sheer joy to witness this memorable, real life experience.
Reflecting . . .
Whether we are mentors, beginning teachers, or experienced in the profession, for many of us taking the lead in expanding the totality of the learning process is a commonplace occurrence. The evidence of our value lies in the achievements and contributions of our students, as they take their rightful place in a global society.
Developing as a Professional
The Professional Teaching Standards. New Teacher Center at The University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004
Former Mentors of Region Eight (2004-2007)
Cynthia M. Cooper, Director
New Teacher Induction Program
New York City Department of Education
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