Mentor Teacher Workshop, February 7, 2017
As part of their programmatic SSHRC-funded research, Dr. Kevin O’Connor and Dr. Gladys Sterenberg, along with faculty in the Bachelor of Education program, were thrilled to invite to campus nearly 40 mentor teachers and administrators from four research partnership schools to share perspectives on the mentorship of teacher candidates. Believing that teachers, administrators, and faculty members are partners in the work of teacher education, the workshop was intended to foster reciprocal dialogue and create deeper understandings about the best ways to prepare and inspire the next generation of teachers.
During the past four years, mentor teachers and administrators have participated in a pilot research study focused on integrating theory and practice. This has resulted in the development of key pillars for practicum experiences, the heart of our Bachelor of Education program:
· Cohort placements
· In-school seminars
· Course integration in schools
· Capstone inquiries
· Faculty members as supervisors
The afternoon provided a collaborative opportunity for mentor teachers to investigate qualities of good mentor teachers, successful strategies for mentoring, co-teaching, and evaluating teacher candidates, and ways in which our department could support their work as mentors.
Throughout this afternoon, we were reminded of the importance of relationships. We heard how mentor teachers learn from the mentoring process; as they articulate the reasons for their teaching decisions, they better understand the values that shape their own practice. As teacher educators, we also have a better understanding of our own practice as we design and implement more integrative practicum experiences throughout our program in the context of school-university partnerships. In the end, we are all agreed that relationships are the foundation to our program’s success!