Research shows

DOE supports for Teaching Fellows inadequate

The mentoring that Teaching Fellows receive during their first years of teaching is often too little and not in compliance with New York State requirements, a new report examining the New York City Teaching Fellows program has found.

In its regulations for alternatively certified teachers, the state requires that each fellow receive daily mentoring during the first eight weeks of teaching by certified school personnel, time to meet with their mentor, a plan for continuing the mentoring after the initial eight-week period and monthly observations.

In a survey of 167 math teaching fellows who had completed their first year of teaching, 38 percent of respondents reported that they did not receive the amount of DOE mentoring that state guidelines require and that sometimes the mentoring was delayed until the teacher’s second semester. Of those who did meet with mentors, only 13 percent reported that their mentor had observed a full lesson. Survey respondents said what was needed was more contact with the mentor — at least once a week or every three days.

The five researchers from various CUNY colleges and the University of Maryland suspect that these findings understate the extent of the problem since fellows who left before completing a year of teaching were not surveyed.

New teachers who entered the profession through the traditional route have been similarly shortchanged, UFT officials said.

The researchers recommend that more content-knowledgeable mentors be trained, particularly for middle and secondary school math.

To compensate for the lack of DOE-provided mentors, approximately 80 percent of the fellows reported that they have had to develop their own support system using experienced teachers, coaches and other Teaching Fellows in their schools.

Read more: Research shows
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