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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Peace Corps Fellows Program

Overview

Mentoring is one of the key components of our program that has a strong correlation with the retention rate of new teachers and is a major factor of our program's success. As returned Peace Corps volunteers, our Fellows face some unique challenges:

  • Repatriation or Reverse Culture Shock
  • Relocating to a huge metropolitan area
  • Teaching in very challenging urban schools
  • Full time teaching while pursuing graduate studies
  • Connecting Peace Corps experiences with new endeavors

Our program is designed to meet the challenges that first year teachers face. Our Fellows, both in their first and second year, are mentored by have experienced practitioners in the field. Our mentors are committed educators who help Fellows navigate the two worlds they will simultaneously inhabit; at Teachers College, Columbia University as a graduate student and within the New York City Department of Education as an untenured teacher.

Our mentors are selected based on their demonstrated success as classroom teachers with a minimum of five years teaching experience in the content area in which they will mentor.

The qualities that we look for in our mentors include a commitment to education, professionalism, ability to communicate effectively, strong teaching experience, and knowledge of the specific content area. They must be supportive, resourceful and share the belief that learning is a lifelong process. Our mentors are committed to the professional development and growth of our Fellows and serve as role models in the field.

Through the mentoring relationship, Fellows are offered individualized support and provided help with establishing instructional priorities, implementing curriculum mandates, setting clear and realistic expectations for themselves and the students they serve, and for managing their time effectively. Primarily, our mentors provide invaluable feedback about current practices in the classroom and help our Fellows become reflective practitioners with a professional vision.