Teacher Collaboration Boosts Impact of Mentoring

Finding time for teachers to work on student mentoring and staff professional development was a challenge for The Academies of Juarez Lincoln High school in Texas. Creating a designated time to work on these activities helped teachers meet that challenge and improved the impact of EduGuide’s peer mentoring curriculum.

“There has been much more consistency this year,” said Dr. Santos Palomo, academy director.  “This has made a greater student response to the program. The atmosphere and the student culture has changed in a positive direction.”

Palomo explained that teachers serving as mentors and coaches have a designated time each week to reply to students’ EduGuide activities. Teachers also work on their own EduGuide modules for personal and professional growth during that time.

Making mentoring more meaningful

Teacher Maribel Virgil explained that working together during this time has helped the staff to be more productive and accountable to the mentoring process. It also helped them to provide deeper, more thoughtful replies to students.

Fellow teacher Ricardo Flores agreed.

“Mentoring together in a group setting has allowed us to collaborate with each other to give more meaningful feedback to student responses. We can reinforce each other’s mentoring when responding to the same students. Alternatively, we can target other students who would not receive mentoring due to time constraints. Working in the group setting makes me feel as if we’re more in sync with each other and results in increased productivity,” he said.

Online insights boost in-person connections

The Juarez Lincoln teachers have found that mentoring students in their EduGuide activities has given them insights that help them understand their students better.

“At times the online mentoring gives us rare glimpses of our students’ lives and we can use these small anchors as a way to connect with our students during in-person interactions,” said Cynthia Reyes-Fregoso.  

Sandra Amaro added, “Online mentoring has affected my in-person interactions with my students by giving me an insight as to what goes on in their lives. With this knowledge, I am able to understand where they are coming from and how I can better help them be the best they can be.”

Understanding students more deeply

Reading student responses in EduGuide caused teacher Sam Gonzalez to see some of his academically successful students in a new light.

“I noticed several of the students who I had perceived as having strong academic qualities in class, were writing that they had their own doubts about their educational abilities and whether they should continue to ‘try’ in their classes,” he said. “Having read these responses, I made it a point to talk to the students in class about why they felt that way. And I provided examples on goal setting formats they could use to accomplish their own educational goals.”

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