Mentor Teachers

Mentor Teachers support and mentor Student Teachers. They use their professional judgment and knowledge to evaluate Student Teachers.

Curtis Farley  - Mentor Teacher - Archbishop Joseph MacNeil

 

I feel that it is the responsibility of every teacher to mentor new teachers. There are teachers who still give me support and encouragement and I think it is valuable to keep that going. When I look back at the end of a practicum and see how much my student teacher has grown. All of their confidence after such a short time is wonderful.

-Curtis Farley
Archbishop Joseph MacNeil

 

Roles and responsibilities

Mentor Teachers (MTs) will:

  • coach Student Teachers (STs) in:
    • planning, organizing and managing instruction
    • obtaining instructional resources and materials
    • understanding Alberta Education documents and expectations
    • assessing and evaluating student achievement
    • understanding student needs
    • using effective teaching strategies and skills
    • managing a positive learning environment
    • establishing relationships with students, parents, and colleagues
    • understanding professional conduct, responsibilities, and obligations
    • developing reflective practice
    • developing strategies for effective supervision (in conjunction with the School Coordinator)
  • evaluate student teacher progress (with the assistance of the University Facilitator, as required) by:
    • reviewing the midpoint evaluation and providing feedback
    • preparing a draft of the final evaluation, in a timely fashion, to share with the University Facilitator and revising as necessary
    • reviewing the final evaluation with the student teacher and submitting the electronic copy to the University Facilitator via their ualberta email

Volunteering for a student teacher

If you wish to mentor a Student Teacher, share your interest with the Principal and/or School Coordinator at your school. School Coordinators will register all Mentor Teachers by completing the online registration.

For more information, please contact a Placement Coordinator.

Criteria for Mentor Teachers
Mentor Teachers play a critical role in the Field Experiences program as they coach, guide, and assess Student Teachers. In order to become a Mentor Teacher, teachers must have:
  • BEd (or equivalent)
  • permanent teaching certificate
  • three years of successful teaching practice
  • support of the school administration

Every effort is made to place students at least two student teachers at a school, as it is better for the Student Teachers’ learning. If there is only one Mentor Teacher at a school, there is a reduced chance that student teachers will be placed at that location, unless the Mentor Teacher is willing to accept a dual placement of two IFX students.

Payment for Mentor Teachers

Typically Mentor Teachers have received a small honorarium as a token of our appreciation for hosting a Student Teacher.

To facilitate this payment, Mentor Teachers volunteering for a Student Teacher should indicate their payment preference, SELF or SCHOOL.

To receive the honorarium as a personal payment, Mentor Teachers should indicate SELF.  For teachers with Edmonton Public Schools or Edmonton Catholic Schools, this payment would be included on their regular paycheques.  For teachers in other jurisdictions, the payment would be sent as a separate cheque to the school.

To assign the honorarium to the school, Mentor Teachers should indicate SCHOOL on the form.  It is the applicant's responsibility to discuss with the Principal or appropriate school administrator how these funds will be accessed by the teacher before selecting this option.

A Mentor Teacher during the 2016-2017 school year receives an honorarium of:

  • IFX - $210
  • AFX - $340

 

Supporting Student Teachers

The University of Alberta expects students in their IFX to:

  • Adhere to the Professional Code of Conduct at all times
  • Provide a letter of introduction prior to the Field Experience
  • Attend all three Observation Days
  • Be present on all schools days (IFX students are only allowed two days of unavoidable absence without jeopardizing their Field Experience)
  • Prepare detailed plans for all lessons in a timely fashion
  • Keep written professional reflections
  • Attend all meetings initiated by Mentor Teacher and/or University Facilitator
  • Contribute to an extra-curricular activity within the school community
  • Assume responsibility for 0.5 FTE of the teacher’s assignment by the midpoint of the Field Experience
  • Demonstrate competency in each of the categories identified in the Final Evaluation Form

The University of Alberta expects students in their AFX to:

  • Adhere to the Professional Code of Conduct at all times
  • Provide a letter of introduction prior to the Field Experience
  • Be present on all schools days (AFX students are only allowed three days of unavoidable absence without jeopardizing their Field Experience)
  • Prepare detailed plans for all lessons in a timely fashion
  • Keep written professional reflections
  • Attend all meetings initiated by Mentor Teacher and/or University Facilitator
  • Assume significant responsibility for an extra-curricular activity within the school community
  • Assume responsibility for 0.8 FTE of the teacher’s assignment by the sixth week of the Field Experience
  • Plan, develop, and deliver a minimum of one complete unit of study (including the assessment of students)
  • Demonstrate competency in each of the categories identified in the Final Evaluation Form

A Mentor Teacher’s feedback is critical to the success of the Student Teacher.

  • Feedback is most meaningful when there is an atmosphere of positive collegiality.
  • Student Teachers should be observed in a variety of different contexts with a variety of different students.
  • Both oral and written feedback should be provided regularly.
  • Feedback should be descriptive and specific. Be clear on what the Student Teacher is doing well, as well as areas of potential growth.
  • Feedback should be based on the Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes required of students (as described in the Evaluation documents).
  • Student Teachers should use the feedback provided by the Mentor Teacher as the basis for some of their professional reflections.
  • Be careful not to overwhelm the student teacher with too much feedback at once.
  • Focus on one area at a time, building to a comprehensive evaluation at the end of the Field Experience.
  • Based on feedback received throughout the Field Experience, Student Teachers should be well aware of strengths and weaknesses indicated on the Final Evaluation document.

The Final Evaluation document serves as a summative evaluation of the student’s Field Experience.

  • Evaluation Documents can be found under the Forms tab.
  • Feedback provided throughout the Field Experience should be considered when completing the Final Evaluation.
  • The Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes listed on the document act as a guide in the evaluation process. Mentor Teachers do not have to explicitly reference each of the KSAs, necessarily. They may refer to them in a global fashion, if desired.
  • Please remember that Student Teachers will be using these documents to apply for professional positions. Use formal, academic language.
  • Ensure each section is filled out thoroughly, providing detailed information.
  • Utilize specific examples from classroom teaching, extracurricular activities, and/or interactions with staff, parents, and students, wherever possible.
  • Create the evaluation document in consultation with the Student Teacher and the University Facilitator, as appropriate.

Dealing with Problems

While all of our student teachers are developing as professionals and can be expected to require regular support and feedback, occasionally student teachers do not progress as expected and may fail to address the weaknesses in their performance identified by their Mentor Teachers.

If you believe this puts them at risk for not receiving credit for the course or for receiving a poor final evaluation, you will want to issue a Notification of Concern (NOC). This document is formal tool set up to ensure that students are aware of the areas requiring improvement and establishes a plan to deal with areas of significant weakness. Typically the NOC is administered in cases where persistent problems have not been addressed, despite sufficient feedback from the Mentor Teacher and University Facilitator.

While serious, the document is not intended to be punitive, and should focus on the improvements required to be successful. The document should identify:

  1. The specific areas of practice that need to be dealt with.
  2. A detailed plan for addressing the problem areas.
  3. A description of what will be considered an acceptable level of improvement.
  4. A target date for improvements (usually 3-5 days from issuance of NOC).

The Mentor Teacher usually initiates the NOC, with the support of the UF as required. The UF and the Mentor Teacher should meet to issue the NOC to the Student Teacher. The School Coordinator and/or Field Experience Associate may also be involved, if desired. The NOC is stored in the student’s file at the University, but does not become part of their permanent record.

If a ST does not satisfy the terms of the NOC in the prescribed period, various options can be considered including the issuance of a second NOC, the extension of the target date, course failure, or the early termination of the placement. In these cases, the Mentor Teacher should consult with the UF and/or FEA.

While the vast majority of our students are successful in their Field Experience, we recognize that very occasionally a student’s involvement may in some way negatively impact your school community significantly enough that the placement should not continue. We respect that school principals must act in the best interest of their school communities and that they are able to unilaterally terminate a placement at their discretion. In such cases, we appreciate that this can be challenging work, so they should contact their Field Experience Associate for assistance.

IFX Timeline

  • Review the materials on the website
  • Review Student Teachers’ Introductory Email
  • Discuss the role of the Student Teacher with your students
  • Arrange to provide the Student Teacher with class lists (with pictures if possible), timetables, seating plans, school handbook, attendance and emergency plan procedures, and student accommodations
  • Provide the Student Teacher with a work space
  • Consider how the Student Teacher will submit student grades and feedback  

Observation Days are intended to assist student teachers to learn about and become comfortable with the context of their assigned school. Things to consider:

  • Arrange for observation in a variety of classrooms
  • Have the Student Teacher introduce themselves to the class, and perhaps lead a short activity.
  • Encourage the Student Teacher to be engaged and actively involved in classroom activities and building relationships with students
  • Provide direction regarding the Student Teacher’s potential teaching assignment
  • Support Student Teacher to become familiar with available resources
  • Have Student Teacher assist with individual or small groups of students. 
  • Allow Student Teacher to observe you teach a variety of lessons.
  • Engage in professional reflection conservations with the Student Teacher. 
  • Assist Student Teacher with gathering materials for teaching. (Program of Studies, resources, information about students, and assessment strategies.)
  • Ensure Student Teacher is aware of extracurricular opportunities.
  • Allow Student Teacher, if appropriate, to observe in other classes.
  • Support Student Teacher to plan and deliver single lessons. 
  • Ensure Student Teacher assists with supervision.
  • Increase Student Teacher teaching time to at least 0.25 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent). With your support, have them take on responsibility for planning, preparing, and delivering lessons.
  • Provide feedback to support the Student teacher prior to, and after they deliver their lessons.
  • Allow Student Teacher, if appropriate, to observe in other classes.
  • Support Student Teacher with the development of their Growth Plan. Growth Plans should be completed by the end of day 10.
  • Issue Notification of Concern if warranted. Ideally, if necessary, a NOC would be issued prior to the 50% withdrawal deadline.
  • Gradually have Student Teacher assume responsibility for 0.5 FTE of your teaching load by the end of the week.
  • Be present during Student Teacher’s lessons and provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Begin to leave Student Teacher to assume the responsibility of teaching independently. Be readily available and in close proximity to the Student Teacher.
  • Issue Notification of Concern if warranted.
  • Ensure Student Teacher maintains a minimum of 0.5 FTE.
  • Continue to observe and regularly provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Continue to provide opportunities for Student Teacher to be involved in other classrooms.
  • Review and provide feedback to lessons.
  • Have Student Teacher gradually reduce their teaching load.
  • Ensure Student Teacher hands in graded work and assessments.
  • Collect all teaching resources that have been borrowed by Student Teacher.
  • Meet with Student Teacher, on or before day 23, to review their Growth Plan.
  • Complete the Final Evaluation with collaboration from Student Teacher.
  • Email the Final Evaluation Form as a Microsoft Word document to the School Coordinator/Zone FEA.

AFX Timeline

  • Review the materials on the website
  • Review Student Teachers’ Letter of Introduction
  • Discuss the role of the Student Teacher with your students
  • Arrange to provide the Student Teacher with class lists (with pictures if possible), timetables, seating plans, School Handbook, attendance and emergency plan procedures, and student accommodations
  • Provide the Student Teacher with a work space
  • Consider how the Student Teacher will submit student grades and feedback.  
  • Meet with the School Coordinator regarding possible extracurricular involvement, weekly meetings, and orientation activities
Over the course of the practicum, ensure students have opportunities to demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes indicated on the Final Evaluation Form. Develop a plan to support them in each of these area.
  • Identify the classes and units that the Student Teacher will be assuming responsibility for and help them collect Program of Studies, resources, lesson plans formats, and appropriate strategies for assessment.
  • Ensure Student Teachers are aware of all emergency procedures.
  • Arrange for observations in other classrooms.
  • Agree to a plan to discuss observations and reflections.
  • Review and provide feedback to reflections.
  • Assist School Coordinator in making Student Teacher aware of opportunities for extracurricular activities.
  • Dialogue daily on experiences: discuss lessons, reflections, and observations; establish specific management and instructional strategies; review future lesson plans.
  • Support Student Teacher in planning and delivering single lessons, and or/parts of lessons to various sized groups, including the whole class.
  • Ensure that appropriate and supported supervision responsibilities are assigned.
  • Meet with University Facilitator.
  • Have the Student Teacher assume more responsibility for planning and delivering single lessons to the whole class.
  • Give support in lesson and unit planning; share models of exemplary lesson and unit plans.
  • Be present in the classroom to observe and provide oral and written feedback to the Student Teacher.
  • Review and provide feedback on reflections.
  • Issue Notification of Concern if warranted.
  • Have the Student Teacher assume more responsibility for instruction; up to 0.5 FTE of a full load by the end of Day 15.
  • Be present in the classroom to observe and provide oral and written feedback to the Student Teacher.
  • Provide opportunities for Student Teacher to be involved in other classrooms.
  • Review and provide feedback on reflections.
  • Issue Notification of Concern if warranted.
  • Continue to increase teaching responsibilities (to 0.8 FTE by Day 30).
  • Continue to observe and regularly provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Be readily available even when the Student Teacher is left in charge of the class.
  • Review and provide feedback on reflections.
  • Read Student Teacher Midpoint Self Evaluation and discuss with Student Teacher and University Facilitator. Add Mentor Teacher comments in the last section of the Midpoint Self-Evaluation.
  • Issue Notification of Concern if warranted.
  • Continue to observe and regularly provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Be readily available even when it is desirable for the Student Teacher to be left in charge of the class.
  • Review and provide feedback on reflections.
  • Issue Notification of Concern if warranted
  • Increase teaching load to 0.8 FTE.
  • Continue to observe and regularly provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Be readily available even when the Student Teacher is left in charge of the class.
  • Review and provide feedback to reflections.
  • Continue to observe and regularly provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Be readily available even when the Student Teacher is left in charge of the class.
  • Review and provide feedback to reflections.
  • Continue to observe and regularly provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Be readily available even when the Student Teacher is left in charge of the class.
  • Review and provide feedback to reflections.
  • Initiate draft of final evaluation and discuss with Student Teacher and University Facilitator.
  • Reduce Student Teacher workload over the course of the week as units are completed.
  • Be readily available even when it is desirable for the Student Teacher to be left in charge of the class.
  • Ensure all student work and teaching resources borrowed from the school are returned.
  • Share draft of the Final Evaluation Form with the University Facilitator for feedback and make appropriate revisions.
  • Complete the Final Evaluation Form and discuss with Student Teacher and University Facilitator.
  • Include Student Teacher comments on Final Evaluation Form. 
  • Email the Final Evaluation Form as a Microsoft Word document to the University Facilitator using the proper naming protocol.

Be an Effective Mentor

The Importance of Being a Mentor

Professional Reflective Practice

Professional Reflective Practice in Action

Relationship Building

FAQ

Registration for a student teacher can be done by registering online through your school coordinator.

If a Mentor Teacher encounters a serious problem with their student teacher, they should discuss the problem with their University Facilitator (for AFX) or their Field Experience Associate (for IFX). 

If problems arise prior to or during the Field Experience which necessitate withdrawal from student teaching, please advise the Field Experiences Associate immediately (at 1-107 Education Center North, 492-3659) as well as the University Facilitator (for AFX).

Program match is of most importance when placing secondary students. For elementary students, we match students to schools. Schools will in turn match students with teachers depending on classroom needs. When those priorities are met, the placement coordinators will then consider student preferences and the area in which they live. Every effort is made to place student teachers in cohorts of at least 2.

It is possible for a student teacher to be placed in their high school if five years have passed since they have graduated.