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Site Teacher Mentoring and Development (STMDP)

Placing student-teachers into real-world classrooms is a critical part of a student’s journey to becoming a teacher. When mentor-teachers open their classrooms to student-teachers, it provides critical learning opportunities wherein student-teachers are able to observe more experienced educators in action, help create and implement lessons, and gain meaningful experiences in teaching diverse students. To ensure our Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE) students graduate feeling comfortable and prepared to lead classes of their own, UITE has a well-developed Site Teacher Mentoring and Development Program (STMDP) that benefits both student-teachers and mentor-teachers.  

Drawing on long standing relationships with Granite School District and Salt Lake School District, and now Canyons School District, UITE’s STMDP program offers mentor-teachers a valuable experience in developing and honing their mentoring skills. This year UITE was able to expand STMDP and offer mentoring opportunities to mentor-teachers in both elementary and secondary schools. In UITE’s elementary cohort, one student-teacher is paired with one mentor-teacher at any elementary grade level. In the secondary cohort, there are a total of 38 students this year and approximately 40 mentor-teachers. Eighteen of these mentor-teachers are part of STMDP this year.

UITE uses a collaborative and relationship building model for STMDP. For mentor-teachers, the program provides valuable and essential mentoring experience in all aspects of everyday teaching and mentoring. Mentor-teachers are eligible to participate in STMDP if they host a student-teacher who is in their licensure year. The licensure year has two parts: 1) Practicum (Fall Semester) and 2) Student Teaching (Spring Semester). In practicum, student-teachers observe their mentor-teacher, teach small groups, lead small group activities, and teach complete class period lessons. By Spring, student-teachers have acquired all the necessary skills to take over a complete load of four classes. As the load of student-teachers is incrementally increasing, mentor-teachers play a crucial role in honing their student-teacher’s teaching and reflection skills. STMDP is geared to help mentor-teachers advance in these skills.

For mentor-teachers, STMDP has benefits beyond mentoring current student-teachers. They get companions in their classroom who plan with them and work as a support system. Student-teachers help this process by offering fresh perspectives and reflecting on the classroom decisions their mentor-teachers make. Having a student-teacher in the classroom and participating in STMDP allows mentor-teachers the chance to finesse their teaching strategies. Although UITE’s STMDP teacher-mentors have many years of experience, choosing to participate in STMDP helps them to become better teachers and better mentors.

UITE has leveraged the STMDP program to create bridge the research and practice gaps between elementary and secondary educators. Traditionally, there are avenues for collaboration among elementary school teachers and among secondary teachers, but opportunities for collaboration between elementary and secondary teachers are scarce. STMDP challenges that approach, allowing elementary and secondary teachers to work together and share teaching models, theories, and approaches from their unique classroom settings. All mentor-teachers in STMDP engage in applying research. Through a hybrid model of in-person and online to accommodate working professionals, STMDP mentor-teachers meet once a month. During the meeting the mentor-teachers discuss research they have read and then spend 1 month implementing that research into their classrooms. After implementing the research, the mentor-teachers come together as a group to discuss how implementing the research went—what worked and what didn’t and if it didn’t work, how they might finesse the application of the research for better results. Thus, STMDP acts as a bridge that connects all mentor-teachers—elementary and secondary—in important ways, because many practices and applied research for elementary classrooms can be useful in secondary classrooms and vice versa.

People Involved: Udita Gupta (Secondary Teacher Preparation), Kerry Herman (Elementary Teacher Preparation).

              Dr. Udita Gupta                        Dr. Kerry Herman    

                                  Udita Gupta                                                                        Kerry Herman

               Secondary Teacher Preparation                                    Elementary Teacher Preparation 

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Last Updated: 12/12/23