A User's Guide to

Peer Assistance and Review

  • What is PAR?
  • Costs and benefits of PAR
  • Designing your PAR project
  • Labor-management relations
  • Practical issues and advice

What can or must CTs do when their term is over?

“And so, there was fear, definitely. ‘He’s no longer one of us. He’s one of them.’ There were people who definitely responded like that. I did a lot of PR work explaining to people: The first thing that I want to do is help my peers become better teachers. And as evidence of that, I cannot become an administrator in three years. That is not allowed.”

Montgomery County CT

Some district programs restrict the jobs that CTs can apply for when they complete their term. In Montgomery County, CTs are required to return to “school-based” positions which included staff developer and teacher but not school administrator or district curriculum developer, for example. In other districts that do not have such requirements, CTs often describe a union expectation that they will return to teaching once their terms were complete. There were three primary reasons for this expectation. First, union officials and CTs in particular said that it helps to establish their credentials as “peers.” They said that if the role were to be viewed as a stepping stone to administration, teachers would value the advice of CTs less than when the role is really considered to be a peer.

captionSyracuse CTs

The second reason is that returning to the classroom helps CTs stay current with the day-to-day experience of teachers. Most CTs said that after a few years, it is easy to forget the emotional demands of daily teaching. In addition, CTs said that they quickly become out of touch with new systems and curriculum introduced in the district. In order to be most helpful to the teachers whom they coach, they need to be close to practice themselves. And finally, district officials and some CTs also said that the requirement ensures that CTs share their newly-gained skills with peers in schools. After considerable professional development and years of experience coaching and evaluating practice, CTs are poised to be excellent practitioners and to contribute a great deal at the school level.

“I went back a much better teacher. I went back knowing the big picture about the school system, instead of my little school, my little room, my little niche. . . . And I shared more outside of my [classroom] door, mentoring people who just needed me.”

Toledo CT

Districts decide whether or not to guarantee that CTs can return to the classroom or school which they left when they became CTs. In some districts, Consulting Teachers are granted the right to return to their exact assignment; in other districts CTs are guaranteed a spot at the school where they worked or get priority if a space at their former school opens. In other districts, positions are not reserved and CTs enter the district’s general job pool at the end of their term.