Providing Release Time for Teachers
One of the requirements for TAP-funded peer mentoring in state law is the provision of release time for mentors and beginning teachers so that they may observe each other and other experienced teachers. This is a critical piece of the program, as without the information gleaned from watching a new teacher teach, a mentor is ill-equipped to help that teacher develop and implement an appropriate Professional Growth Plan. New teachers can also learn a great deal by observing their mentors or, with their mentors whenever possible, observing other exemplary teachers. In addition, a great deal of research shows that in-class professional development – teachers watching each other and teaching together – is also a very effective activity.
Districts, however, are finding it increasingly
difficult to meet their needs for substitute teachers. Below are some
creative ideas from districts around the state for finding time in the
day for this important activity:
- Hire one substitute to fill in for 3-4 teachers
Observations are most effective if they cover a relatively short period of time (20-50 minutes). With this time requirement, one substitute can fill in for short periods for several teachers in a building or in adjacent buildings.
- Ask an administrator to cover the class
Some administrators find it refreshing to be back in the classroom for a
- Observe during a preparation period
While not an ideal solution, this can provide for observation time when other options are not available.
- Ask a colleague to cover the class during his/her preparation period
The district may use TAP funds to pay the colleague for that time.
If you have other suggestions to add to this list, please contact OSPI's Beginning Educator Support Team Coordinator Linda Foster at
firstname.lastname@example.org with your creative solutions!