D. What does the work of a mentor and intern look like in a Professional Development School?
The professional development school model conceptualizes the mentor and intern as co-teachers. This benefits public school students by offering more individualized and small group teaching by both the mentor and the intern.
Over the entire internship year, the teaching relationship between the mentor and intern evolves. In the first phase of the experience, the mentor takes the lead in planning and delivering instruction while the intern supports the teacher in carrying out planned lessons and working with individuals or small groups of students (approximately August through December). In this first phase, the mentor is the guide and the intern is a tutor for children. Since the intern has considerable after school responsibilities with methods course assignments, the amount of planning by the intern should be minimized during the fall semester. There will be plenty of planning opportunities in the second semester.
In the second phase, there is much more co-planning and co-teaching (approximately January through March). During this time, the intern is gaining critical insight into the teacher's knowledge and expertise by engaging in dialogue and observation targeted at understanding why the mentor teaches in certain ways, uses particular strategies, or sequences lessons in specific ways. In this case, the mentor becomes the coach and the intern becomes a key player in implementing and reaching instructional goals.
As the experience progresses into the third phase (approximately April through June), the intern takes the lead (when appropriate) in planning instruction and is supported by the mentor who also works with individuals or small groups of children within the room. In this phase, the mentor becomes the tutor and the intern assumes the role of guide.
In each of these three phases, the roles of the mentor and intern change. However, by conceptualizing their work as co-teaching, we provide additional resources that help bring our classrooms in line with current practices in the areas of inclusion and remedial reading and math programs. As a result, our interns will be better equipped to serve in the schools of tomorrow where more will be expected of them as professionals. They will be instructional leaders who are able to work collaboratively with other professionals to design and maintain a learning environment that motivates students to learn the basics and apply them in relevant settings.