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The first year of teaching is exciting, exhilarating, and amazing. At the same time, it can be stressful, scary, and pressure-filled, especially for those who began their teaching career in the middle of a global pandemic. The State of Illinois estimates that at least 4,000 new K-12 teachers started their careers during the 2020-21 school year. Many of these teachers did not have the chance to complete their clinical training because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, teacher candidates who were eligible for this exemption already underwent extensive coursework, had pre-clinical fieldwork experiences, and took a licensure content test.

That's why the Illinois State Board of Education partnered with the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers to pair new teachers with mentors in their buildings and virtual instructional coaches to help guide first-year educators through this most unique first year of teaching. Veteran teachers can also participate as coaches and mentors and earn a stipend. 

The Illinois Virtual Instructional Coach and Building Mentor Program offers the following comprehensive supports:

  • A virtual instructional coach, certified in the same area of instruction, who is trained to provide support for beginning teachers in online instruction, social-emotional learning, and trauma-informed practices;
  • A trained and certified building mentor whose sole responsibility is to make the new teacher feel welcomed, supported, and connected in their new school;
  • Access to a robust virtual coaching platform with an online library of resources and a way to connect to other first year teachers; and
  • Support and feedback via one-on-one and small group virtual coaching sessions.

Interested in bringing the program to your school or district? The first step is for the school or district administrator to complete a short interest survey. A program representative then will reach out to schedule a brief onboarding meeting.​

Need more information? Email IEA_CoachingAndMentoring@ieanea.org. Districts affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers should email IFTcoachingandmentoring@ift-aft.org. ​​​​​​

Discover Opportunities to Support New Teachers

Overview of the Virtual Instructional Coach and Building Mentor Program.

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