Updated: 09 Jul 2022 08:10
Veteran educator Gina Tucker wishes she had EduCoach when she first started (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
A teacher’s first years in teaching are so overwhelming that half of all new teachers quit within the first five years.
Veteran educator Gina Tucker hopes her new business, EduCoach, will buck that trend by providing online mentoring support to teachers in Bermuda and around the world.
“Most teachers come thinking they will stay forever,” she said. “So what are we going to do to make sure they stay long term? I believe EduCoach is one such resource. EduCoach is a real gift for teachers.
Dr Tucker said her own early years as a teacher at West Pembroke Primary in the late 1980s were “crazy”.
“I was well prepared,” she said. “I trained in a progressive program. But as a first-grade teacher, you’re trying to manage 100 things, 95 of which are unrelated to teaching. You try to manage the running of the school. You try to manage the discipline and you try to manage how to perform all your duties. »
The other teachers at West Pembroke kept her from becoming a statistic.
“It would have been a different trip if I hadn’t had these colleagues in the building,” she said.
Older colleagues sometimes laughed at his “progressive” ideas, such as having children work in the classroom collaboratively.
“But their support allowed me to try things out,” she said. “Otherwise I would have been too busy trying to figure out everything else.”
Later, working as a primary school principal for eight years, she often mentored the teachers who worked under her. But she said that in today’s world where managers are so busy, that’s not always feasible.
“EduCoach supports principals as well as teachers,” she said.
It’s about making professional coaching accessible, affordable and convenient so that any teacher who wants to improve can get the help they need anytime, anywhere.
Useful for new teachers, it also provides mentors for all experience levels.
A teacher can choose a mentor to help with third grade math, for example.
Dr. Tucker said the most popular topics right now are mindfulness, classroom management and formative assessment.
Interest in EduCoach is growing, even abroad.
“We left for the Association for Program Supervision and Development in Chicago in March,” she said. “The interest was huge. This is a revolution in the way we think about teacher support. Getting people to switch to this model takes time. We are seeing an increase in interest over the past two months.
She started working on EduCoach during lockdown in April 2020 when she was Director of Fintech Education at FinTech Bermuda.
“Every morning for about a week I woke up thinking, what can I do? I have to do something,” she said.
She knew she wanted to create something that involved technology and education that would be a job creator.
“I knew I wanted to support teachers,” she said. “I know teachers’ jobs are very difficult and I know that not everyone gets the support they need when they need it.”
EduCoach started taking coaches a year ago. They now have 50 and hope to eventually have 75 to 100 people working for them.
“You should have at least five years of teaching and coaching experience,” she said. “You should have a master’s degree in teaching. But some areas have different types of certification. It is important for EduCoach to be progressive in its reflection on experience and expertise. People come with a variety of expertise that requires different types of certification.
Teachers can purchase mentoring sessions and there are packages for schools that want to make EduCoach available to their teachers.