Career Story: New Teacher Developer In An Urban School District

New Teacher Developer In An Urban School District

Job Title: New Teacher Developer

Type of Company: I work for a large city public school system.

Education: BA in Russian Language & Literature, Brandeis University •• EdM in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education •• EdD in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Previous Experience: Teacher

Job Tasks: I am a "teacher on assignment" -- which means I am a member of the teacher's union, but not providing direct service to students in a classroom. Instead I serve as a full-time mentor to 14 first-year teachers in five different schools.

I meet with each new teacher for about 45 minutes per week and spend an equal amount of time in each teacher's classroom. My time in the classroom is spent primarily in observing instruction, modeling lessons, and/or working with students. I use observational tools developed by the New Teacher Center in Santa Cruz, CA, to record things such as student participation, a teacher's movement around the classroom, or actions of particular students.

My daily work involves a lot of listening. New teachers respond to prompts of, "What's working well?" and "What are you current concerns and/or challenges?" while I listen, occasionally asking clarifying questions. We then discuss possible ways to address the challenges and develop a list of next steps for the new teacher's practice.

I also need to spend a lot of time on the computer, as I communicate regularly with new teachers, colleagues, administrators, and various community resource people via e-mail. New Teacher Developers in my city meet weekly and also come together for professional development.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is supporting new teachers. I remember how difficult my own first year is... and understand how overwhelming teaching can be. I think this program provides an ideal way to "give back" to the profession as a veteran teacher.

The worst part of my job is being in so many different schools. This makes it nearly impossible to provide support for new teachers outside of our 1:1 time together. Research shows that teachers often leave the profession because of the culture of the school and I believe our work should include whole-school change.

Job Tips:
1. REALLY believe in the teachers you're supporting... that they can and will do well, that they care about their students and want to be effective. 2. REALLY listen and trust that new teachers can solve their own problems with coaching. 3. BE an excellent teacher yourself... a lifelong learner who can model "best" practices. 4. Develop resources and contacts that might be useful to others. 5. Have patience with the changes that take time. 6. Be a positive role-model of professional behavior.

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