The Mentor Minute
In This Issue...
- Exploring Ways to Take Care of YOU!
- Finding Support through PLC time
- Enriching PD Opportunities and Offerings: Seminars and Study Groups
- Preparing for your formal Evaluation Information: a look at the Danielson Framework
Taking Care of YOU: How Teachers Can Implement Daily Self-Care
It is completely understandable that most (if not all) of us feel overwhelmed. The Coronavirus has continued to cause disruption in our routines and lives. For educators, the part of our lives that seems to have been most influenced is our professional life.
The changes and creative maneuvers we have made have come at a cost. They have left many of us feeling exhausted and, frankly, empty. As mentors, we have witnessed beginning teachers running on empty and not wanting to grant themselves permission to put themselves first. Please know that everyone gives you permission to put yourself first, and recognize that by doing so, you are consequently improving the lives of everyone you interact with. Here are a few strategies for taking care of yourself, as well as some articles you might find interesting:
In addition to putting yourself first, please remember that your mentor is here for you! Use us to take some of the enormous work off of your shoulders. We are happy to help in any way we can.
Permission to Take Care of Yourself: Permission
5 Simple ways for teachers to practice self-care during Coronavirus: 5 Tips
Professional Learning Communities as a Support System (PLCs)
WHAT REALLY MATTERS | Susan Lebel Young: Author
Being a new teacher can be scary (and this was before a pandemic!). New teachers are struggling with everything from lesson planning to creating classroom management systems. One of the most important things for all teachers to remember is this: you cannot do it alone! Finding a support system (or three) can increase your ability to be successful not only in the teaching world, but also in your personal life.
Let's face it: only another teacher can truly understand the stress and anxiety that can accompany your profession. Finding a support system within your teaching world allows you to vent, gather data, and elicit suggestions from professionals who know. This is why PLCs or Professional Learning Communities have been organized throughout your schools.
The ins and outs of PLCs: The Tucson Unified School District implements and supports Professional Learning Communities within each school and each subject and grade level. The PLCs are meant to support the growth and common goals of teachers throughout the district.
Below, TUSD has outlined the Six Essential Characteristics of a PLC:
1. Shared mission, vision, values, goals: Educators in a PLC benefit from clarity regarding their shared purpose, a common understanding of the school they are trying to create, collective communities to help move the school in the desired direction, and specific, measurable, attainable, results‐oriented, and time‐ bound (SMART) goals to mark their progress.
2. Collaborative teams focused on learning: In a PLC, educators work together interdependently in collaborative teams to achieve common goals for which they are mutually accountable. The structure of the school is aligned to ensure teams are provided the time and support essential to adult learning.
3. Collective inquiry Teams: In a PLC relentlessly question the status quo, seek new methods of teaching and learning, test the methods, and then reflect on the results. Building shared knowledge of both current reality and best practice is an essential part of each team’s decision‐making process.
4. Action orientation and experimentation: Members of a PLC constantly turn their learning and insights into action. They recognize the importance of engagement and experience in learning and in testing new ideas. They learn by doing.
5. Commitment to continuous improvement: Not content with the status quo, members of a PLC constantly seek better ways to achieve mutual goals and accomplish their fundamental purpose of learning for all. All teams engage in an ongoing cycle of inquiry-driven action.
6. Results orientation: Educators in a PLC assess their efforts on the basis of tangible results. They are hungry for evidence of student learning and use that evidence to inform and improve their practice. “The success of the PLC concept depends not on the merits of the concept itself, but on the most important element in the improvement of any school—the commitment and persistence of the educators within it.” —Richard DuFour
In addition to the 6 Essential Characteristics of a PLC, Richard DuFour also outlines the 3 Big Ideas of a PLC. These can answer the "Why do we have PLCs?" Question:
1. Embrace Learning for All
We embrace as our fundamental purpose the learning at high levels of every student in Tucson Unified. We further champion the idea that we ourselves are also learners. Therefore, we are willing to examine our teaching practices, policies, programs, and everything we do in our school and district through this lens: Does this impact learning for each and every student in a positive way?
2. Build a Culture of Collaboration
We take collective responsibility for the success of all of the students in Tucson Unified. We can achieve our fundamental purpose of high levels of learning for all students only if we work together. Therefore, we cultivate a collaborative culture through the development and support of high performing teams.
3. Focus on Results
We assess our effectiveness in achieving high levels of learning for all students in Tucson Unified on the basis of results rather than intentions. We use results to drive our efforts, to let us know whether our actions make a positive difference in the learning of each and every student. We are results-driven and evidence-based practitioners using outcomes to inform and improve our professional practice and to respond to the needs of all of our students for assistance or enrichment.
Did you know that the Mentor Program offers Seminars and Study Groups? Do you need help planning lessons? Do you want to add more engagement into your online lessons? Are you having trouble with classroom management? We have seminars and study groups for that!
To sign up for Seminars or Study Groups being offered by the Mentor Program, simply log onto True North Logic TNL (True North Logic Link)
- Log in with your TUSD employee ID and password
- Click on "Course Catalog" on the black tool bar at the top
- On the left side, click on "Show All" under Subject Aligned Courses
- Under "Mentor Teacher Program" you will find seminars and study groups offered throughout the year and the 1st and 2nd year teachers in our program have enrollment priority
- Take the time to explore all the areas regularly as classes will be added continually
Also, new teachers receive $25/hour for attending!
Upcoming and Ongoing Seminars and Study Groups
Here's what we have coming this semester:
- Trauma Informed Teaching (Course #17591)
- Classroom Management 1 (Elementary/Secondary) - course required for new teachers by TUSD (Course #17597)
- Classroom Management 2 (Elementary/Secondary) - course required for new teachers by TUSD (Course #17598)
- Learning and Engagement Strategies for the 6-12 Humanities and ELA Classroom (Course #17594)
- Building Relationships (Course #17592)
- IEP Writing (Course #17593)
- Tools for Teaching Book Study and Activities Study Group (Course #17586)
- Lesson Planning Study Group (Course #17599)
- ExEd Forum Study Group (Course #17595)
- K-1 Teacher Study Group (Course #17600)
- Rotate! Math Stations (K-5) (Course #17596)
The Danielson Framework and Your Evaluation
Here are 2 documents to help you when preparing for your evaluation
Please reach out to your mentor for help when preparing and planning for your evaluation!
Lesson Planning Support and Resources
We also have lesson planning study groups almost every day of the week! Join one or more and get support when planning for quarter 2 and beyond!
Location: 555 S Tucson Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716
Phone: (520) 225-6735