College of Education, Health and Human Sciences New Teacher Center
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New Teacher Center

215 Ball Hall

Memphis, TN 38133


fax 901.678.4778

Frequently Asked Questions

"... nearly 50 percent of all new teachers leave the profession."

The New Teacher (NTC) at the University of Memphis is affiliated with the New Teacher Center at Santa Cruz, CA and uses the intensive Santa Cruz Induction and Mentoring Model for new teachers. The New Teacher Center @ Santa Cruz has taken the findings from nearly 20 years experience of supporting new teachers and established a state and national center for the dissemination of information and provision of training and consultation services to educational entities interested in developing or refining programs of support for beginning teachers. The NTC at the University of Memphis began implementing this model in fall 2003. Evaluation findings reveal that program participation in this intensive induction and mentoring model is increasing teacher retention, teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Because of these accomplishments, the New Teacher Center at the University of Memphis received the 2006 Tennessee Board of Regents’ Academic Excellence Award.

In July 2006, the training for mentors and coaches was organized into one or two-day regional training modules and the New Teacher Center at the University of Memphis was established as a Regional Mentor Training site. This training is ideal for mentors, instructional/curriculum facilitators, teacher leaders, supervisors of interns/student teachers, subject matter coaches, principals, assistant principals and administrators of induction programs. The Modules are designed to assist mentors and coaches in supporting beginning teachers and include training materials, samples of completed formative assessment tools, a conversation guide to support the use of the tools, blank copies of the tools relevant to each training topic, and DVD of mentor/beginning teacher conversation.

The goal of this model is to provide intensive, individual support to beginning teachers who might otherwise feel isolated and frustrated given the pressures in today's classrooms. Research shows that this type of strong support is a powerful factor in a new teacher's experience and proves vital in making the first year of teaching -- and the years that follow -- satisfying and effective.

After nearly 20 years in Santa Cruz, the program has seen great results. Of the new teachers who participated in the program, 95 percent stayed with teaching after the first few years. Nationally, nearly 50 percent of beginning teachers leave the profession after just a few short years. The NTC at the University of Memphis focuses on support strategies and practices to promote teacher autonomy through the ongoing and recursive processes of self-assessment, inquiry into practice, reflection and planning.

Supportive veteran teachers referred to as mentors or coaches are the key element in the program's success. Beginning teachers establish special relationships with their mentors/coaches who share their stories of success and setbacks. Working together, side-by-side, new teachers gain real-world insights from experienced colleagues who have seen and done it all.

  • New Teacher Mentors/Coaches - Exemplary veteran teachers are released from their regular classroom positions for work full-time with new teachers, both in and out of the classroom. Mentors/coaches meet on-site weekly with new teachers during and after school hours. They observe and coach the new teachers, offer emotional support, assist with short- and long-term planning, design classroom management strategies, teach demonstration lessons, provide curriculum resources, and facilitate communication with the principal.
  • Monthly Seminar Series - A monthly seminar series is designed to build a support network and an ongoing professional dialogue among beginning teachers based on the Tennessee Framework for Evaluation and Professional Growth. Seminars focus on content specific pedagogy, effective practices for working with diverse learners, and literacy.
  • Release Time - Opportunities for reflection, assessment, observation, curriculum planning and staff development are offered throughout the year.

While in the program, beginning teachers benefit from an ongoing formative assessment cycle -- tracking the teacher's professional growth. Assessments revolve around the teacher's district goals/individual learning plan. A professional portfolio documents the teacher's experience and includes:

  • Assessment and Professional Growth - The new teacher works with the mentor/coach to develop professional goals and strategies that will guide their collaborative work. The Professional Growth Plan is revised and modified throughout the year.
  • Self-Assessment - Self-assessment worksheets are used throughout the year as a self-assessment tool and springboard to create and revise the Professional Growth Plan.
  • Collaborative Assessment Logs - The new teacher and mentor/coach document weekly successes, challenges, and next steps.
  • Formal and Informal Observations - Observations are related to the teacher's professional goals and provide objective data for reflection upon practice.
  • Analysis of Student Work - Student work is analyzed regularly in relation to content standards and is used to guide curriculum planning and professional development for the beginning teacher.

A Lifeline for New Teachers

Teachers are amazing people. They inspire us. Motivate us. Help us to dream. Encourage us to soar. On any given day, a teacher influences the lives of 30 to 150 students. Over the span of a career, a teacher will have touched thousands of lives. As educators they are given a precious responsibility, but along with the rich rewards of teaching come difficult pressures and challenges.

The New Teacher Center (NTC) was developed to be a lifeline to information, advice and special counsel in order to foster success in one of the most demanding professions imaginable. NTC, proudly affiliated with the New Teacher Center at Santa Cruz, is a source of real encouragement and support for professionals beginning their teaching careers. The three-year pilot program with Memphis City Schools was supported by a generous grant from the Plough Foundation. The University of Memphis College of Education, Health and Human Sciences is a dedicated partner with local school districts throughout the state of Tennessee and the region. This pilot collaboration, led by the University, was comprised of staff development coordinators, teachers (new and veteran), union representatives, school district central administration, school principals and community members. Additional supporters included Tennessee Tomorrow, Inc., Partners in and Public Education and the Tennessee Department of Education.

More questions? Click here to access the New Teacher Center FAQ.

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Last Updated: 2/1/12