Local university works with national organization to mentor future teachers

New Teacher Center launches new program with University of Lynchburg

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The New Teacher Center, a national non-profit has launched a new program with the University of Lynchburg.

“This is the first of its kind in the country. We’re a pilot,” Mary Ann Mayhew, assistant professor for leadership studies at University of Lynchburg, said.

It’s called the "new teacher mentor program."

Mary Merat teaches second grade in Amherst County and is a mentor to a University of Lynchburg student right now.

“It’s very important to collaborate and work together and learn from each other. I feel like being a mentor and investing into other educators makes a huge impact on education,” Merat said.

She and these other teachers are learning to become instructional mentors to future education candidates and new teachers in the area.

“The type of mentoring that worked years, and years ago where someone would just say, ‘Let me know if you need anything,’ is definitely not adequate in today’s world,” Mayhew said.

Mayhew, a facilitator, said they are redesigning the teacher’s preparation program.

“They are learning high leverage tools and protocols, mentoring stances and different kinds of strategies that will help our teachers in the area become better teachers,” Mayhew said.

There are currently 90 grade school educators across Central Virginia who are participating in the program. They say the ultimate goal is to encourage and keep future educators from leaving the classroom.

“I think it helps encourage educators to look for the ‘Why’ and to think about the ‘Why,’ ‘Why am I doing this’ ‘Where can I make an impact most on the students in my community within my school?’” Merat said.

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