Series Creating Success in Middle School: Improving Practice: Collaboration & Mentoring

Improving Practice: Collaboration & Mentoring

Lesson Objective: Improve your practice through collaboration and mentoring
All Grades / All Subjects / Professional Learning


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. What do the teachers learn from planning lessons together?
  2. How can a school's schedule foster effective teacher collaboration?
  3. What can experienced teachers learn from mentoring a new teacher?


  • Private message to Lauren Mullens

 1. They learn that each has their own skill set that they can bring to the table to plan for a better lesson.

 2. Depending on the school, they can try to have the same department teachers off during the same period as shown in this video so that planning and collaboration can happen.

 3. New teachers are always willing to bring new ideas and communicate and the veteran teachers see that as a benefit in helping themselves by adopting things they like.

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  • Private message to Asela Guillén

Working and planning lessons with other teachers it’s a great opportunity for them. In the video, all the teachers who teach the same subject have the same period and they collaborate with each other. They plan together and review what they did. They share their experiences, work with each other, they collaborate, and it helps them a lot. Mentoring another teacher is a positive way for both teachers, the new teacher and the mentor.  They see students interacting with other teachers, and they learn from each other. 

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  • Private message to Avery Baird

In this video, you see how each teacher engages with each other to help the lessons progress and be on the same page. The idea that the teachers can learn from each other and make changes to lessons for new ideas, ways to teach, and understanding how the students learned certain lessons. Time management is very important and this is a great way to help the classroom flow effectively.

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  • Private message to Kim Lowery
Teachers who plan together can share ideas, expand on each other's lesson plans, solve either individual or common problems, give support and plan on how to do the lesson better for both next time. You can compare data to see what works and what doesn't. By scheduling like subject planning time together, alleviates the stress for the teachers of having to get together before or after school. We have this at our school and it is great to be able to share ideas and plan ahead. Everyone can learn something from someone else. With new teachers comes new ideas, new ways of looking at things through fresh eyes and new ways of approaching a standard. I feel it is important for the mentoring teacher to keep an open mind to the ideas of the new teacher. It helps keep us out of "ruts" that we may not have even realized.
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  • Private message to Caitlin Flynn
What do the teachers learn from planning lessons together? Teachers who plan together do a number of different things. It provides the collaboration that is needed among teachers to plan effective lessons together. New ideas are discovered and the standard is being fully addressed because teachers are bringing ideas to cover the standard. How can a school's schedule foster effective teacher collaboration? The school can provide PLC on how the planning should look, but also making sure that everyone on the same team has the same planning time. Planning time should be used to make sure that lessons that are being taught cover everything that needs to be taught. What can experienced teachers learn from mentoring a new teacher? New teachers bring new and fresh ideas to the table. This is important because new teachers provide a different perspective that veteran teachers may have not thought of.
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  • Speaker 1: Alright, let’s stand up, and let’s play. Teachers have a million things to do every day, and if

    Speaker 1: Alright, let’s stand up, and let’s play. Teachers have a million things to do every day, and if we did not share some of the work, then we would each have three times as much work as we have right now. This school has always had the culture of professional learning communities, and so we started planning together. One of the things that the school has incorporated is that all 8th grade science teachers are off at the same period.

    Speaker 2: You guys were great. We’ll see you later.

    Speaker 1: It allows us to get together, and do that planning. If that culture wasn’t there, we wouldn’t have that collaboration, not to the level that it is.

    Speaker 3: While Barbara is teaching her lesson in her room, I’m just next door doing the same lesson with my students. We usually plan for a week at a time, or maybe even a whole unit. Often we’ll go back and see what we did in the past.

    Speaker 1: We talk about, okay, I did this last year, and it worked really well. What do I want to tweak? When we talk together, we come up with better questions.

    Speaker 3: How does the energy flow between the two? We also have different talents, so it’s very helpful when we can work with each other instead of having to work by yourself. When we collaborate, we can expand how we teach individually and it helps all the students at the same time.

    Speaker: Hey, remember if you were algae. Every time you’ve interacted, go back and get your beans, okay?

    Speaker 4: Ms. Wilson, she was a student from U-Teach Dallas, and I was her mentor.

    Speaker 5: Every day, for co-planning lessons, I would go in 7th period with Barbara and Linda. They had an idea where they were going with the lessons and then they would include me as far if I had any ideas that maybe we can include.

    Speaker 1: She came and she observed classes, but then she actually started teaching class for, I think, it was about 6 weeks.

    Speaker 5: Barbara creates routines for everything. There’s not a lost moment in her class period. And I’ve never seen her not finish a lesson.

    Speaker 1: You’ve got a few more minutes. Keep going. Don’t stop.

    Speaker 5: That’s something I tried to pick up too, and I really admired her for it because time management in the classroom is very difficult.

    Speaker 1: It was a growing experience for me, as well, because I got to see the students interacting with another teacher in my classroom, so I can see some things that she was doing that I ended up liking to do.

    Speaker 5: I do have my own classroom now and it has been an amazing experience.

    Speaker 1: Her getting a job right out after me being a mentor for her really made me feel very good and very positive about the whole experience of mentoring.

    Speaker 3: They bring a lot to the table too. It’s not that it’s just a one way, where they would just receive everything. Instead, I receive a lot of ideas. I receive a lot of talent.

    Speaker 1: Sebastian, what surprised you? It just makes coming to school a lot more fun, and when I’m having more fun, the kids are going to have more fun in what I’m teaching and what they’re learning.

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School Details

Webb Middle School
1610 Spring Creek Drive
Garland TX 75040
Population: 1193

Data Provided By:



Barbara McCoy
Lauren Wilson
Lynda Ehlers


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