As a teacher residency, MTR pairs each resident with a mentor teacher, and the resident serves and teaches in the mentor’s classroom for a full school year. Becoming a mentor teacher, opening your doors and your practice to MTR residents is a wonderful investment in the future of Memphis.
If you teach in an MTR partner school, you are welcome to speak with your principal about the application process to become a mentor. Principals have information on starting the application process, and their approval is required in order to apply.
Once the mentor application is complete, each applicant will be contacted by the Residency Director to begin the selection process. The process includes:
Mentor and resident final matches are made in late spring when all residents have been selected and have passed their Praxis II Content Knowledge exam. Mentor applicants are notified at this time about whether a resident has been placed with them for the coming year.
Recent research by Shelby County Schools demonstrates that MTR mentors have excellent scores, far exceeding non-mentor teachers in SCS. This research shows statistically significant differences between mentors and non-mentors on TVAAS, classroom observation scores, TEM professionalism, and student surveys (TRIPOD). In each case mentors scored higher than non-mentors. This shows that MTR is selecting excellent teachers to serve as mentors and that student achievement continues to be high with a resident in the classroom. Further research that is already in progress is looking into whether student growth might actually improve with a resident in the classroom as students in these classrooms have two teachers: the mentor and the teaching resident.
All residents hold a bachelor’s degree and have gone through an extensive selection process. Residents are not required to have an education background, but some residents have taken education courses in their undergraduate experience or completed an education degree. All residents are required to pass the Praxis II Content Knowledge exam for their content area prior to starting at MTR.
A residency year is different from traditional student teaching. Residents are in a mentor teacher’s classroom every Monday through Thursday for an entire school year and complete graduate coursework on Fridays and Saturdays. Residents complete summer professional development alongside their mentor teacher, are present on the first day of school, and will have a gradual release of teaching expectations ultimately leading to approximately seven weeks of lead teaching spread over the year. Residents attend professional development, faculty meetings, and participate in school activities and meetings to the fullest extent possible.
Residents will gradually take on teaching responsibility in the classroom. A gradual release of teaching expectations will be provided to each resident and mentor teacher. For example, elementary residents begin the year with duties like bathroom breaks, read alouds, and bellwork while secondary residents begin the year leading bellwork and circulating during independent practice. They then assume responsibility for specific subjects or class periods as it corresponds to the graduate coursework. Residents will complete seven weeks of lead teach throughout the year: one week after Thanksgiving, the first two weeks in January, the first two weeks after Spring Break, and the first two weeks in May. Lead teach involves the residents taking over all of the teaching load. The selected lead teach times allow the resident to have opportunities to practice resetting class culture and to develop a sense of shared authority in the classroom. Each resident plans in advance for the lead teach, and all lesson plans are approved by the mentor teacher. During lead teach, residents take lead responsibility for all aspects of teaching: teaching all day long, grading papers, tracking and analyzing data, completing attendance forms, filling out field trips forms, etc. Through lead teaching, each resident experiences and learns the many dynamics and skills of being a teacher.
While residents are completing the internship requirement with a mentor teacher, they are also completing a Master of Urban Education (MUEd) degree program from Union University. The MUEd from Union University can only be earned through MTR; therefore, all interested residents must apply and interview through MTR. During the summer, residents complete courses that lay the groundwork for preparation in becoming a teacher. Through the school year, residents take courses in their specific content areas as well as complete a research course. Information about specific courses will be shared with mentors during mentor professional development.
Each mentor and resident will be assigned an MTR coach. An MTR coach observes the resident teach every week. Coaches also organize and lead monthly meetings of the coach, mentor, and resident to promote communication and discuss resident growth priorities. The mentor should use the coach as a resource to handle and discuss any concerns with a resident. The coach’s regular presence in the classroom is another chance for mentors and coaches to informally communicate about resident performance and priorities. However, we understand that sometimes there are situations in which a mentor-resident pairing is not a good match. If necessary we will move a resident to a new placement.
During the summer, new mentors attend three days of professional development (PD) and returning mentors attend two days. Summer PD provides an opportunity for mentors to learn about MTR, resident coursework, and strategies for effective mentoring. Mentors will meet MTR staff and coaches as well as connect with other mentors. Mentors also spend time with their resident during summer PD. Breakout session options allow mentors to select topics and sessions that seem most helpful. Some of these sessions are led by returning mentors who share what they heave learned from previous years of mentoring.
Additionally, there are three morning half-days of mentor professional development at MTR throughout the school year. Topics covered are specific to the time of year and appropriate stages of resident development during the year. These mornings also serve as additional chances for mentors and coaches to meet and discuss resident growth and priorities.
MTR mentor professional development counts toward SCS professional development requirements.
Every resident is assigned an MTR staff instructional coach. The coach observes the resident teach weekly, provides feedback, and checks resident lesson plans in conjunction with the mentor. Coaches also provide support to mentors including a monthly meeting with the resident and mentor to review teaching expectations, celebrate resident growth, and discuss priorities for future resident growth. MTR aims to cluster multiple residents in each residency training school so that mentors will also have the support of colleagues going through the same process. Mentors will be able to meet with other mentors at the mentor professional development.
Yes. Current or past mentors who wish to mentor again must reapply every year to indicate their interest in continuing as a mentor. We have several mentors who have mentored for many years and continue to open their classroom to empower the next generation of teachers for Memphis students.
Paperwork responsibilities for mentors are minimal. Mentors are asked to observe their resident each week and fill out a written observation form for the resident. Mentors are also asked to provide written feedback on lesson plans from their resident. Mentors must also carve out a regularly-scheduled weekly meeting time with their resident; residents take notes at these meetings and turn them into their MTR coach.