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What Mentor Teachers Do

Students in the teachHOUSTON program work with experienced teachers in local classrooms in five field-based courses and an accelerated program. These mentor teachers provide opportunities for our students to observe high-quality teaching as well as to teach hands-on, engaging lessons in their classrooms.

Mentor teachers are generally experienced teachers in math, science and/or computer science classrooms. Mentors interact with students via email and classroom visits, where they are able to provide feedback and guidance during lesson preparation, as well as lesson delivery using a formal feedback form. Ideally, mentors have access to technology in the classroom such as a document camera and LCD projectors.

Mentor teachers are a crucial part of our mission to change the face of public education. They not only provide a meaningful learning opportunity for those that are interested in teaching, but are affecting and impacting the lives of more students than they will ever know. If you are interested in becoming a mentor teacher to an aspiring teacher in our program, email any of our faculty. To learn more about what to do as a mentor teacher, watch this video.

Field-Based Courses

STEP 1
Elementary School

STEP 1 is the first field-based course that students take in our sequence. It places them directly into a 4th or 5th grade elementary classroom where are exposed to the teaching strategies of their mentor teacher during two observations. Students are exposed to the lesson planning process, in their own classes, and then teach two lessons to their elementary school class under the supervision of their mentor teacher. These lessons are premade by teachHOUSTON master teachers. Students are asked to personalize and improve upon them, as well as practice their lessons extensively with both master teachers and experienced teachHOUSTON interns. During the lesson, mentors are given a formal feedback form to help students reflect on their lesson and teacher presence. After they teach, they reflect and make changes to their lessons based-off of the feedback they receive from their mentor teacher and their university professor.

STEP 2
Middle School

STEP 2 is the second field-based course in the teachHOUSTON sequence. In this course our students are continuing to “try out” teaching, but this time they are creating their lessons for a middle school classroom setting. The students are expected to observe their mentor teachers’ classroom twice and to create and develop two lessons from the curriculum guidelines of their mentor teacher, all while advancing their teaching strategies and classroom management tools. During the lessons, mentors are given a formal feedback form to help students reflect on their lesson and teacher presence. After they teach, they reflect and make changes to their lessons based-off of the feedback they receive from their mentor teacher and their university professor.

Classroom Interactions
High School

Classroom interactions, or CI, is the third field-based course in the teachHOUSTON sequence. In this course, students observe a high school classroom two times in order to develop and teach two lessons in their content area. CI focuses on how content and pedagogy combine to address equity and diversity issues in classroom teaching. This class also heavily emphasizes student reflection and growth by setting and addressing teaching goals and videotaping lessons for later review throughout the semester. Mentor teachers facilitate student growth throughout this process by providing feedback and guidance on lessons and lesson plans, as well as being a resource for students to use when developing their lessons and personal teaching goals.

Multiple Teaching Strategies
High School

Multiple teaching strategies, or MTS, is the fourth field-based course in our sequence. In this course, students observe a high school two times where they are specifically investigating and utilizing several inquiry-based teaching strategies that are effective in math and science classrooms, such project-based learning, as well as developing their use of assessments to improve student learning. They teach two lessons back-to-back using a variety of strategies. During the lessons, mentors are given a formal feedback form to help students reflect on their lesson and teacher presence. After they teach, they reflect and make changes to their lessons based-off of the feedback they receive from their mentor teacher and their university professor. Additionally students create a problem-based instructional unit.

Accelerated Certification Pathway, ACP
Middle or High School

The new strand of teachHOUSTON, Accelerated Certification Pathway at UH (ACP) is a strategic combination of the teachHOUSTON field-based courses (STEP 1 & 2, CI and MTS) taken with Knowing and Learning in one semester. This was designed for degree holders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) seeking teaching certification. For the following semester they complete Research Methods and Student Teaching with Seminar. Students observe a middle school or high math or science school classroom for 60 hours in the first semester, including teaching four student-created lessons during the semester. Additionally, the university professor assists these students in developing their inquiry-based lessons for approval by mentor teachers. Mentor teachers provide lesson topics, teaching dates, and feedback on building relationships with their students.

Student Teaching
High School

Student teaching and seminar is a demonstration of the specified competencies in a school setting guided by a mentor (cooperating) teacher and directed by a university supervisor for students in their final semester before graduating. Students work alongside their cooperating teacher for 40 hours a week where their degree of involvement within the classroom increases as the semester progresses. Cooperating teachers help the student implement various strategies and help them understand what goes on behind the scenes. Seminar occurs once a week during pre-selected dates to further provide student teachers with pedagogical best practices to be implemented from a just-in-time-teaching approach.