Mentoring the next generation of teachers

Mentoring the next generation of teachers

Anna Flanders /

Sharon Elliott and Hannah Bustamante in the classroom

It takes a village to build a teacher. At UNI, that village includes 1,000 mentors spread across 275 school districts throughout Iowa and beyond. These mentors help students who participate in more than 2,000 field experience placements annually. 

“The people that I've worked with — whether it's my student teacher coordinators, mentor teachers or my professors that helped with education and chemistry — they've given me a lot of support,” said Hannah Bustamante, a senior majoring in chemistry teaching with an earth science teaching minor. “So if I need help with something or if I just need someone to talk to because I'm stressing, they're very supportive and guiding me in the way that I need to go to make sure I'm successful.”

Throughout the student teaching experience this semester in Omaha, Bustamante’s mentor teachers have been a huge source of support. “It's easy to be scared because it's a really big, new, crazy thing,” she said. “But there's a lot of support throughout the entire experience. So there's nothing to worry about.”

Bustamante’s current mentor teacher is chemistry teacher Sharon Elliott. She appreciates the freedom Elliott gives her with teaching.