A guiding light

It’s no secret that teachers can suffer burnout after years on the job. It’s a stressful profession in which teachers give their all every day. For 30 years, the Peer Intervention Program has been helping teachers get their groove back or make a career change if they decide to do so.

PIP, a joint collaboration of the city Department of Education and the UFT, is voluntary, confidential and exclusively for tenured teachers who are struggling with pedagogical and professional issues. It works by pairing teachers with mentors — peer intervenors who are themselves experienced educators and can help teachers rethink their teaching strategies. What it’s not about is evaluation or assessment. Instead, PIP provides a safe space for teachers to try different approaches and reflect on their practice with a partner who’s in their corner.

PIP Coordinator Lynne Ann Kilroy has called it an opportunity to “rekindle the fire” a teacher had when just starting out in the classroom.

PIP works because it’s a partnership that respects the dignity and privacy of teachers who want to take control of their professional development, zeroing in on specific areas they want to improve. Teachers who have reached out to PIP have worked on everything from improving their lesson plans and using data effectively to track student progress, to preparing to teach in an integrated co-teaching classroom or a new grade.

Surveys show that teachers who participate in PIP report an improvement in their skill sets, a better learning environment for their students and an increase in their observation ratings.

This year, PIP is celebrating its 30th anniversary. For the more than 2,000 teachers who have sought professional renewal since it was launched in 1988, PIP has been a guiding light.

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