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National Mentoring Month @ UCDS

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Since mentoring will have its time in the national spotlight over the next few weeks, I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some of the incredible mentoring that takes place at UCDS on a daily basis.

The UCDS Resident Teacher Program is a year-long opportunity for recent graduates to gain experience in classroom teaching. UCDS strives to cultivate a diverse pool of residents with unique backgrounds who can positively impact the entire school community.  I sat down with UCDS faculty members and Resident Teacher Program Coordinators, Betsy Watkins and Deb Chickadel to learn more about the important work that they do to cultivate an impactful relationship between residents and mentor teachers.

According to Betsy, “the UCDS residency program is unique because it is a mutually beneficial relationship for both the emerging teachers and the school as a whole. These recent graduates have the opportunity to immerse themselves in teaching in a way that is fully supported. Mentor teachers can help guide their mentees and point them in the right direction when questions arise.”

Deb agrees, “Residents get to work side-by-side with a teacher in a safe space with a lot of support from people who are immersed in the school’s culture… As the program coordinators, we support both sides—the residents and the mentor teachers.”

Betsy adds, “In our role, we are facilitating reflection and professional development.”

The UCDS residency program not only benefits our residents, faculty, and students, but also the wider educational community. The mentoring that our residents receive during their year at UCDS provides them with the tools and knowledge to become impactful educators and collaborators in the schools and communities where they go on to work after their time at UCDS.

Mentoring is an important part of the UCDS culture and will continue to shape our community members in meaningful ways. Stay tuned next week as I delve further into this topic.

If you would like to read President Obama’s proclamation about National Mentoring Month, click here.   

-Michelle Wilson, Development Specialist