Mentor feedback and self-reflection are crucial to the success of new teachers, but challenges such as substitute shortages, travel concerns, and inefficient processes often get in the way. In addition, when districts do find technology solutions that help, it can be difficult to overcome resistance to adopting yet another software tool.
In order for the mentoring relationship to be successful, there must be buy-in from the new teacher when it comes to receiving feedback about their practice. Providing a method for new teachers to self-reflect and mentors to give feedback without leaving their own classrooms, enables these meaningful conversations. It is also important to acknowledge the uncertainty that comes with adopting a new program, no matter how great the promised benefits.
In the process of solving for a sub shortage that was severely impacting their mentorship program, Induction Coordinator, Lindsey Wickersham, and Instructional Coach, Jennifer Merry of the Ontario-Montclair School District in Ontario, California found that they could also enable greater self-reflection and improved teacher practice with the same solution.
To provide a strong foundation for professional growth that was rewarding for both mentors and new teachers, OMSD partnered with GoReact to offer a cloud-based, COPPA and FERPA-compliant, video feedback solution to quickly and easily deliver the right feedback at the right time.
Even if substitute teachers were readily available, it would cost the district nearly $400 a day to bring one in. Allowing mentors the flexibility to review teacher videos on their own time not only prevents the district from incurring these hard costs, there are numerous intangible benefits as well:
Reducing Classroom Disruption
“It just seems like more of a low-stakes environment for [teachers]. So, not having someone else come in and observe has helped teachers feel like it’s really their own class, and it’s not so nerve-racking.”
Enabling New Teachers to Grow Through Self-Reflection
“I would really want to point something out to a teacher, but they have been catching it while watching it first. It makes it so that the conversation flows a lot easier, and there’s a lot more buy-in because [teachers] are seeing it first-hand, and it’s not something that someone else is pointing out.”
Hyperlinked and Time-Stamped Feedback
“The time-stamped feedback has been huge, because I think that it really reflects what [the mentor is] trying to get [the teacher] to notice. Before, we just used a form, and they couldn’t put what the mentor was saying to an actual thing that was happening in their class. And now there’s no way to separate those. Now they know exactly what part of the lesson that is, and they’re able to pull it up really quick, and they can go back 30 seconds to be like, “Oh, this would have been a good opportunity, for pair share, or something like that.”
Improving the Quality of Debriefs
“This provides a way for the candidate to reflect on their own teaching practices. Whereas before, not all of the mentors would record their candidate while teaching and show them; they would just go in and take notes, and then debrief after. So video provides that option for them.”
Sharing With Subject Matter Experts
“[Mentors] can share it with someone else in the office that is a more primary expert, and I can easily share that video where it wasn’t as easy to do before, and [the expert] can leave the feedback. So we’ve done that a couple of times with the permission of the candidate, of course, and so that just kind of lends to the teamwork and provides [the mentor] with more support.”
To learn more about how GoReact helps school districts support mentors and new teachers, visit https://get.goreact.com/k12/