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

How will the Consulting Teachers work with novices?

Related documents
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CTs across districts work in very similar ways. They commit the time and attention needed to build strong relationships with new teachers and use a variety of strategies to provide feedback and coach them. At the beginning of their work together, CTs explain the expectations of PAR and assist the teachers in getting started, for example, by helping them set up their classrooms or finding the materials they need. Soon after school begins, CTs start to observe each teacher at work and meet with the teacher to discuss what the CT observed. In some districts, these observations focus on areas identified in a formal needs assessment, conducted by CTs for each novice in their caseload.

CTs tailor their support to the teacher’s needs. Their assistance may include joint lesson planning, modeling lessons, arranging visits to other classes, and, most frequently, observing lessons and providing feedback. This feedback usually addresses whether or not the teacher is meeting the district’s standards and what the teacher should do to improve her practice.

“It’s not this warm, fuzzy mentor induction program, where you can go and cry on your mentor’s shoulder. This is about real professional help.”

Syracuse Teachers Union President

CTs conduct announced or unannounced observations of each teacher in their caseload approximately once a week. After the first few months of school, CTs tend to redistribute their time, allocating more to those novices who seem to be struggling and less to what one district called the “high fliers.”