Future Teachers Get FUTM Support with New TAMIU Program

Individuals who choose to join the teaching profession through programs offered by Texas A&M International University College of Education may spell support "F-U-T-M."

While that actually spells Field University Teaching Mentors, it represents an innovative partnership to help guide and encourage pre-service and in-service novice teachers, explained Dr. Juan Lira, TAMIU professor of Education.

"The FUTMs are all experienced local and area educators who work with TAMIU faculty to help support and guide these teachers. It's an initiative begun by TAMIU in response to the federal 'No Child Left Behind' requirements. It's another dynamic part of our commitment to insure that our teacher candidates successfully complete their programs of study to become certified teachers in Texas," Dr. Lira explained

This week, a 15-member FUTM group attended a special training session conducted by Dr. Humberto González, dean of the College of Education and Juanita Lira, consultant.

The training was dedicated to utilizing Instructional Leadership Development (ILD) principles and practices to help establish a positive working relationship with the teachers for whom the FUTMs are responsible.

Participants were also prepared to use key components of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) used in Texas public schools to help these teachers understand key aspects of their teaching behaviors and different ways to enhance their instructional effectiveness.

Dr. Lira said the FUTM effort has a clear and critical goal.

"As a result of these interactions with the FUTMs, teachers will be better prepared to provide meaningful teaching and learning experiences for all their students," he explained, "...there really can be no greater benefit for our students or the communities we serve," Lira said.

Texas A&M International University's College of Education has historically helped to bring the majority of the area's teaching professionals into classrooms for over 34 years, he reminded.

That level of experience, coupled with extensive partnerships with area school districts and long-lasting linkages to state accrediting agencies such as the State Board for Educator Certification and others, creates a rich and relevant learning and teaching environment, he noted.

"We have a real passion for this and I think that passion has helped to create some of our area's most outstanding educators. I think it's safe to say that not one Laredo student in public or private school programs has not benefited from the teaching expertise of a TAMIU undergraduate or graduate program. If you choose the teaching profession, you choose TAMIU, " he smiled.

The College of Education offers nine undergraduate degrees and seven graduate degrees. Endorsements and professional certificate programs are also available in various fields. A collaborative Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction is offered with Texas A&M University.

For additional information on the FUTM program, please contact Dr. Lira at 326.2535, visit offices in Killam Library 332 or email jlira@tamiu.edu.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu