At a Glance
The Center for Professional Development at Temple University is committed to providing an increased presence and support to career and technical teachers in Pennsylvania in order for teachers be confident in their role as a CTE teacher. The Peer Mentoring strategy was planned and implemented in 2021-2022 to address the network of support.
In the Spring semester of 2022, FY 21-22, the Center initiated a pilot program called the Peer-Mentoring program. It was developed in response to two particular challenges; the Career and Technology Center was desperately short on Field Resource Associates (FRA). The role of the FRA is to visit their assigned teachers to check on their course progress. They are a “go to” Temple staff member in a quasi-advisory role. Temple University had a turnover of well-established FRAs, this why the peer mentoring initiative was piloted and early indications are that it is a successful model for retaining career and technical education (CTE) teachers. Temple still has FRAs and at a recent meeting it was decided to have the FRAs added to the Canvas online platform courses so they will have direct access to the course progress of the teachers. The peer mentors will augment the support to CTE teachers. FRA’s and the specific needs of brand new CTE teachers required a higher level of attention that could be met by matching them with a master teacher in their trade cluster. The Center sent an email out to a small group of master teachers representing the areas in need and invited them to a kick-off meeting. Based on the discussion and their feedback, they we developed a peer-mentor job description and created the framework.
- Each peer-mentor would have no more than four new teachers in their group during the pilot phase of this program
- Peer-mentors were expected to schedule one group meeting a month as well as communicate with their group regularly/as needed
- A shared folder was created in Canvas containing CTE Intern documents, resources for the Peer-Mentor, discussion boards for each group and Peer-Mentor documentation logs.
- The documentation logs included suggested agenda items for each meeting.
Center staff checked in with the Peer-Mentors periodically and scheduled a check-in meeting to discuss how things were going as a group. The group participants were also invited to a program review meeting to gather feedback which will be used to guide our planning for this initiative for the next FY 22-23.
Often CTE Teachers who are teaching a singleton CTE course at a center or school district may feel as though they are on an island, with no means to collaborate with an experienced teacher who teaches the same subject. The new strategies implemented at Temple University are aimed at providing a means to link like teachers by CTE subject. We have found that experienced CTE teachers are willing help as they too were in that position being a new CTE teacher at one time in their career. Having a go to person is powerful and a role the Center can fulfil to build confidence and job satisfaction. The feedback gathered from the pilot program will help the Center move forward with this program in the next fiscal year.
Mary Miller-Ettwein M.Ed., Director of Curriculum
Patience Lehrman Ed.D, Executive Director, Center for Professional Development in Career and Technical Education