Professional Mentor Program  
 
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New teachers entering any discipline in the public schools of Texas face many challenges. Classroom management, managing relationships with students, parents, and administrators, balancing home and work life, and simply adjusting to the demands of a career after spending many years as a student, all contribute to the stress a new teacher faces.  

A beginning agriculture teacher has all of the preceding issues to deal with, as well as managing a sometimes overwhelming FFA program, complete with livestock show and project center responsibilities, possibly dealing with a booster club, to go along with many competitive leadership and judging activities. 

As a result of all the factors just mentioned, and a growing demand for agriculture teachers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate highly effective young teachers to replace those leaving the profession. Many young teachers leave the profession discouraged, burned out, and disappointed after a year or two in the classroom. We may be seeing the beginning of our profession not being able to meet the demand for replacements.

The Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (VATAT) has decided to take action and has established a pilot program for professional mentors/mentees. This program, conceived and supported by stakeholders in our profession, has received attention by TEA staff, university professionals, school administrators, ESC staff, and both current and former agriculture teachers.

Many mentor programs utilize peer to peer mentoring using current teachers to mentor new teachers. While there are some valuable programs using this model, the VATAT plan is somewhat different. We utilize retired master teachers that still have the passion for our profession to work with one or two mentees each.

The basic organization of the program includes careful selection of the Mentors, with the expectation that they make several on-site visits during the mentee’s first year on the job. New teachers and their school district filled out a simple application indicating their interest, and were selected based on need. The mentors observe the mentee teaching class, facilitate a teacher/administrator meeting, and work with the young teacher on a variety of topics of interest. There is also on-going email, electronic, and phone calls during the course of the year. 

2017-2018 Program Handbook      
A survey was sent to a group of stakeholders who rated a variety of topics a young teacher should be very aware of during their first years of teaching. The resulting list is not meant to be the only topics of conversation, but should form the basis of the mentoring effort.

You can access detailed information about the subjects by clicking each specific topic below, or download the whole 2017-2018 VATAT Mentor Program Handbook here.




   
 
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  Texas Farm Bureau  
   


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  San Antonio Livestock Exposition  
   

     
     
 
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