Meet Dr. Rose Mary Bunag, a National Board Certified Teacher and mentor teacher who work at the Office of Professional Learning & Leadership in Prince George’s County. She is a member of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association.
“If we take care of our teachers, our teachers can take care of our students.”
As a mentor teacher, I start with getting to know my teachers beyond their names, years of teaching experience, or educational background. Building relationships fosters trust and respect. In my dissertation about teacher vacancies, my data showed teacher recruitment and retention was strongly influenced by the relationship between administrators and teachers and among teachers. Teachers tend to stay in schools where they experience belongingness.
My first teaching job was as an ESL teacher to Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians in a multi-cultural refugee camp in the Philippines. Several years later, I came to the US to teach in a highly diverse public school. My personal and professional exposure to many different cultures allowed me to witness the significance of how diversity can enhance instruction. Research indicates that all students, including white students, benefit from having a diverse teaching staff through improved scores on standardized tests, higher attendance, and better graduation outcomes. I respect and accept the individual differences of educators and help them to optimize their potential.
As an Asian educator, I strived for success with perseverance. As a mentor teacher, I continue to be persistent in all my undertakings and I share my stories to my mentees. When my mentees encounter challenges in their profession, I am able to be empathetic.
Being an educator is more complex than ever. Burnout is real. I support my mentees with grace and enter every coaching session with no judgments. Meetings with my men-tees are intentional, but I always consider their needs first. With the lingering pandemic, we don’t really know what every educator is going through and we all deserve grace. If we take care of our teachers, our teachers can take care of our students.
Professionalism includes competence, integrity, and confidentiality. I support K–12 educators across all content areas so it’s important that I keep abreast of the latest in curriculum, instructional strategies, educational research, and technology tools. I continuously engage in professional development opportunities at the district, state, and national level. Everything I learn, I cascade to my mentees as appropriate. I value integrity and confidentiality and treat all my mentees with the same respect regardless of their age, race, experience, or personality. I treat my mentees the way I would like to be treated.