Angie Paccione, co-director of Project Promise, a teacher education program for career switchers, discusses the program's unique features.
1. What is unique about Project Promise?
The fact that they're in a group of like-minded professionals who all have a passion to change a career, to become something different. And they're all invested in this as a career change, not as a backup plan because they're not sure what they want to do when they become an adult -- a feature that I think is really important. Secondly, what I think is also important is the fact that we intersperse theory with practice. And we find that the more that they can practice -- authentic practice by the student teaching -- the better teachers they become because they can make the changes they need to and then they're on to a new site, new experience, and they can practice some more.
2. Do graduates of the Project Promise program get follow-up mentoring?
There are a few components to the ongoing professional development. We do some mentoring. When we had some significant grant money, it was more formalized mentoring, but now it's somewhat informal. Since we are not only the instructors but the supervisors, we're out in the schools pretty often, and many of our graduates are in the schools where our current student teachers are also teaching. So when we are out observing our student teachers, we also run into our former students, and we do some brief mentoring to see how are things going -- "Do you need some assistance?" "What can we get you?" "Do you need some resources?" They recognize us as resources for them.