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Coaching New Teacher in Diversity

Activity: I worked with a new teacher in understanding what diversity looks like at our school
because it varied from what she experienced as diversity in her student-teaching placement.
Description: This new teacher was like I was when thinking about diversity in her first year,
race. However, there is much more to diversity than race, but that is one common area. However,
this was not the case within our school or academy for the most part. The area of diversity that
affected and impacted her teaching style was the diversity among our students in the area of
socio-economic status. She was teaching many students whose families are considered far below
the line of comfort on the socio-economic status.
a. What went well?
Our discussions and meeting through planning, PLCs or general conversations went
really well. She was very open to understanding how to reach students with this
background. She is a very caring teacher, so it did not take her long to understand that
these students needs are not being met at home. I also explained to her that parental
support from home is not as likely, but she needed to always make an effort to get in
contact with parents and guardians by any means possible.

b. What did not?

What did not go well was more into the school year itself. All the things I explained
above seemed to resonate with her; however, as the school year progressed, her frustration
became more evident. She would get frustrated with kids trying to sleep, not paying
attention, not hearing back from parents, etc. I had to remind her that these are the common
struggles with those students who come from socio-economic struggling situations. I did not

like to see her get frustrated and burned out before the first Christmas break; however, it
happened. That was the worst part was she basically made herself sick dealing with the
struggles of this group.

c. Given the chance to do it again, how would you do it better?

Given the chance to have this opportunity again, I believe this type of coaching/training
needs to be specific to the mentor program at school. Hopefully all teachers know their
content and can build their teaching skills, but just like her placement situation for
student-teaching, she did not deal with this type of student population. I believe schools
and veteran teachers take for granted that the things we know when dealing with
culture, and we forget to coach and mentor new teachers- new to the building or new
teachers- about the schools specific culture. That is vitally important for a successful first
year. Had this teacher been better prepared by me, her mentor, and administration, she
would not have hit that slump mid-year. I learned that I even take that for granted and
thought I was coaching her, but I still let her down and did not do the best job. I needed to
be more aware and realize she was struggling even if she did not tell me.
I am happy to report she is about to begin her third year here, and she has come so far!