In Turlock USD, mentors and new teachers use 15 minutes of video footage per term as inspiration for a conversation about classroom practice.

How mentorship (and video) help new teachers grow

In Turlock USD, mentors and teachers use 15 minutes of video footage per term as the inspiration for an ongoing conversation about how to improve classroom practice

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to become the coordinator of professional development and induction at Turlock Unified School District. I leapt at the chance! In my 20 years with the district, I had served mostly as a high school English teacher, with four years as an instructional coach.

In those four years, I learned a tremendous amount and returned to the classroom a much stronger teacher. Aside from refining my own practice and learning so much from my mentees, I found that I really enjoyed working with new teachers to help them unlock their potential and grow into the best teachers they could be. I also saw firsthand that our newest teachers needed additional professional development and support in their first few years in the classroom.

Related content: 10 tips for new teachers

As I stepped into the new role, California was adopting new standards for teacher induction, which is a requirement in our state for teachers to receive their certification. My first step was to write our teacher induction program. We managed to be the first district in the state to have its induction program provisionally approved under the new standards, and this year we’re slated to be the first to move from provisional to full accreditation. Here’s what our program looks like.

The need for teacher induction

Just as with any professional calling, teachers fresh out of school still have much to learn. They may be world-class educators, but there is plenty of room for growth. An induction program certainly helps with that, but when a district creates its own program, it provides the opportunity to tailor it around district initiatives and culture.

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