Mentorship Program Helps New Teachers

Residency-style mentorship for educators prepares new teachers for classroom success.

January 02, 2024
Caroline Arcega (right) stands next to her father Rommel Arcega (left)
Caroline Arcega (right) stands next to her father Rommel Arcega (left)

The Touro Rising Educator Experience (TREE) program at Touro University California's Graduate School of Education is a transformative initiative designed to support new teachers through structured mentorship. The program recently promoted its first set of teachers, and it has prepared them to excel in their teaching careers.

“What we do is we meet the teacher candidate, we plan out the lesson plan, and do a pre-assessment,” says Lilibeth Pinpin, who is Director at Solano County Office of Education and serves as a clinical coach within the program. “Once the clinical coach and the teacher candidate agree to the lesson, they do the lesson in class, we observe either in person or by recording, then we watch and give feedback.”

Inspired by the structure of residency programs for medical professionals, TREE aims to provide consistent and quality mentorship to educators, ensuring not just success but a thriving experience for both teachers and their students. By connecting mentor teachers with newly credentialed teachers to provide continuous support throughout the program.

Caroline Arcega, a teacher candidate from the TREE program, experienced a swift progression from a long-term substitute teacher towards her dream of becoming an English teacher.

“I was a long-term substitute teacher at Jesse Bethel, which is my old high school and I love being around kids,” says Arcega, who credits the program's fast-paced yet comprehensive curriculum for altering her perspectives on behavior management, lesson planning, and time management. Arcega says the constant support from mentors and the impactful knowledge gained within a condensed timeframe as pivotal in her growth.

Pinpin and other coaches in the program offer structured support through Pre-conference Observation and Post-conference (POP) sessions. These sessions involve lesson planning, pre-assessments, classroom observations, and constructive feedback loops aimed at refining teaching strategies while acknowledging areas for improvement.

Another teacher candidate, Denise Zeigler, brings a unique background as a former interpreter for the deaf transitioning to teaching American Sign Language (ASL) to hearing students as a second language. Her journey through the TREE program provided challenges but proved beneficial in enhancing her organization, planning skills, and forward-thinking approach to teaching.

“The kids either really love ASL, or they're like, ‘Oh my God, I didn't know it was going to be so much work!’” says Zeigler. “They thought it was just going to be easy, because you don't speak, but there's a lot more to it than just moving your hands around.”

Teacher candidates like Caroline and Denise testify to the program’s effectiveness in transforming perspectives, enhancing teaching skills, and preparing educators for success in the classroom, showcasing its impact on both teachers and students.