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Experienced PSJA ISD educators mentor future teachers soon-to-serve in districts across Rio Grande Valley 


Experienced PSJA ISD educators mentor future teachers soon-to-serve in districts across Rio Grande Valley 

Efforts part of summer training offered in partnership with Teach For America  


Through a partnership with Teach For America (TFA), this summer several Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) veteran teachers are helping mentor over 25 future educators soon-to-be serving classrooms throughout the Rio Grande Valley as part of a rigorous summer training program. 


For the first time in Teach For America’s 30-year history, all its incoming educators will complete their summer teaching experience in the communities where they will be serving, including the Rio Grande Valley. The educators participating at trainings being held at PSJA Memorial Early College High School in Alamo and Raul H. Yzaguirre Middle School in San Juan are part of 245 new TFA educators who will be teaching in classrooms throughout Texas this fall.  


As part of the rigorous summer training, 12 experienced PSJA ISD educators were identified to provide this practicum experience by serving as mentors, sharing insightful classroom knowledge, high-quality instruction, learning environments, diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, and leadership development. In addition to serving as mentors, five PSJA ISD educators and current TFA Corps members were also hired to serve as coaches and support operations during the training.  


“PSJA ISD has a really clear pathway for teachers and leaders in their district for how they think about career progression and leadership development,” said TFA Senior Managing Director Jon Stevens. “We’re excited that our new teachers are grouped with veteran teachers in the district to work in a supportive, supervised classroom environment, gradually spending more time developing their ability to instruct and lead a classroom on their own.” 


For Jessica Vela, current Mathematics Teacher at Yzaguirre Middle School serving as a mentor, getting to play a role in training and shaping future educators is a rewarding experience. In addition to having over 16 years in education, Vela was named the 2019 PSJA ISD District Secondary Teacher of the Year. 


“These teachers are getting to see first-hand what it’s really like doing the lessons, preparing, and gaining in-depth learning of what it’s like to be a teacher,” said Vela. “It’s a great feeling to be part of this. I still remember that first teacher who took the time to help me when I first started. Now we’re getting to share the love for the craft and show them what teaching can be.” 


Gaining firsthand knowledge and advice from experienced teachers will be a life-changing opportunity for future educators. Oscar Padron, a PSJA ISD graduate and new TFA Corps Member going through the training program, expressed gratitude for the experience as he looks forward to starting his first year of teaching soon. 


“Coming back to the Valley and getting to learn from the teachers that were once around me is just so motivational,” said Padron who graduated from PSJA Southwest Early College High School in 2016. “I hope to offer a safe space of learning for my future students. Thank you to all educators, we really appreciate all the help and feedback.”