Georgia Southwestern State University has a two-step process in which mentors first host early field experiences and can later apply to host student teachers if everything goes well. By asking mentors to first guide candidates who are participating in part-time field experiences tied to specific courses, the program has a chance to assess strengths and weaknesses of individual mentors and ensure that student teachers are placed with mentors who will help them make the most of the experience. At both levels, potential mentors are screened to ensure that they can model strong instruction and have the skills to help guide teacher candidates' growth.
Mentor Teacher Selection
Classroom teachers first apply to be mentor teachers who can host teacher candidates during early field experiences, which take place during the initial semesters of the program. An application filled out by the mentor and a recommendation contributed by the teacher's principal ensure that mentors have strong instructional and classroom management skills, have received evaluation scores that indicate they have a positive influence on student learning, are willing to host future teachers, and have the skills to mentor adults.
Master Teacher Selection
After successfully serving as a mentor teacher for at least two semesters, classroom teachers can apply to be master teachers. Applications ask teachers to explain how they will guide student teachers, and a principal recommendation form confirms that prospective mentor teachers are talented instructors and mentors.