A strong student teacher matching process provides benefits for all education community stakeholders. To help understand matching process strengths and opportunities for enhancement, we have identified several core categories that we commonly refer to as “drivers” of a good matching process. These were also the guiding principles used in designing the Torace matching platform.
The first is at the heart of our work and what keeps us motivated: Equity. We want to help our partners implement a system that supports all of our stakeholders. The remainder of the categories derive from there and are based on research, best practices, and observations from working hand in hand with practitioners for decades.
Equity Goals help us to ground the work in common values. They must come first. The subsequent categories each build on one another. Mentor Pools follows equity because there is not a way to make a process more effective if your Mentor Pools are insufficient. Third, we have included the importance of Stakeholder Voice. Lastly, we include the Matching Process itself, because if you include Stakeholder Voice to inform matching, the Matching Process can then be based on the best and most accurate information—what your participants know and want.
Student Teachers: The quality and fit of a student teacher’s placement are not influenced by the size, location, or type of Educator Preparation Program (EPP), how well networked they or their coordinators are, or their EPP’s ability to provide financial incentives for placements.
Mentors: The mentor selection process is fair and transparent and produces a high-quality pool (see below).
Kids and Schools: Placements are distributed across sites and classrooms in a manner consistent with a district’s equity objectives. This can look different depending on context-based objectives.
Quality: High quality mentors are approved for the responsibility beyond simply meeting minimal requirements.
Quantity: A significantly larger quantity of mentors than mentees in each area of minimal match (licensure, grade band, etc.).
Culture: Mentoring is promoted and perceived as an honored leadership opportunity and not a burden.
All stakeholders are given an appropriate level of “voice” in the process.
Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs): EPPs are able to use the process to get broad and deep learning experiences for their students.
Districts: District leadership is able to use the process for strategic pipeline objectives.
Mentor Teachers: Teachers can elect in and out of mentoring based on their capacity each semester and can describe their classroom and mentoring approaches to facilitate good matches.
Student Teachers: Student Teachers can describe their needs and objectives to facilitate good matches.
Principals: Principals have a say in determining which teachers are ready for mentoring and have enough capacity semester by semester to serve.
Bonus: Both mentee and mentor participants can weigh in on what would make a good match based on their own knowledge of their preferences.
Fit: The process takes into consideration “fit” between mentor and mentee’s career trajectory desires beyond minimal licensure requirements.
Knowledge: The person or people responsible for matching have access to the right kind of rich information about all participants on both sides of the matching equation to make good matches.
Consistency: The person or people responsible for the matching have similar depths and quality of information about all the participants.
Workload: No one is overburdened by the process and the amount of engagement required feels aligned to the value of having a voice in the process to produce better outcomes.
All of these drivers can be met by “in house” systems that are built in excel and supported by survey instruments and emails. Some places may even have IT teams with the skills to build a data systems and series of user interfaces that cover some of these bases. And we applaud all that ingenuity!
But for those who don’t have the time or the resources to build sustainable systems of that nature from scratch or who want to migrate an existing system to something that requires no maintenance and no training, we offer Torace subscriptions at very affordable rates. See our pricing page for details.
Want to learn more about Torace? Schedule a quick demo today!