MIDLAND, Texas – On the last day of semester at South Elementary, the first grade teachers returned home with a much better support system than their first day because of one thing: the New Teacher Academy.
“It’s the biggest effort I’ve seen a school put in new teachers,” said Anthony Zapata, a new sixth-grade teacher.
This program brought together 12 new teachers who need a little mentoring and extra support every Monday for 45 minutes after school during the semester.
“There’s a lot of learning as you start to run and this kind of program helps you achieve that,” Zapata said.
Zapata said he has benefited greatly from this program and that his favorite part is having a support system in his very shoes.
“Absolutely the camaraderie because it’s not just ‘here’s a certain idea’, ‘here’s a discipline technique’. Director or deputy director,” Zapata said.
This program was started because of a 42% teaching position at South Elementary earlier this year.
They have since filled all positions from the second week of August.
These weekly meetings and the academy program allow teachers to work on classroom management, training, teacher development with seasoned mentors and on the values of South Elementary.
Teachers have come a long way since the academy was established in September.
“At first they were a little more hesitant to ask questions, more reluctant to really get involved, but now they feel they have that connection because they grew up together,” said manager Camarillo.
MISD officials say all schools have some sort of mentoring for new teachers, but to the knowledge of the South Elementary principal, no other elementary school has an academy for new teachers.
“I encourage others to have something similar to really help retain teachers because it’s hard work and if we don’t have that support our teachers will burn out,” Camarillo said.
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