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Mentor teachers Diana Vergara and Sina Vincutonis make sure every new teacher to Poinciana has everything they need to create a strong learning environment for the students

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Mentor teacher Diana Vergara

Mentor teacher Diana Vergara

Mentor teacher Diana Vergara

By Daneris Juarbe, Reporter

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Every day, thousands of teachers are tasked to impart knowledge to their students. It is the lifeblood of the teaching profession. The reason both teacher and student get up in the morning. The student-teacher relationship is the primary function in the classroom.
But who teaches the teachers?
For Poinciana High School, it’s Dina Vergara and Sina Vincutonis.
For the first time at PHS, Vergara, an Algebra 2 honors teacher, and Vincutonis, the German teacher, have been asked to be the school’s mentor teachers. The two veteran teachers are using their years of teaching experience to help the newest members of the PHS faculty through their first year at the school.
Vincutonis and Vergara were chosen to mentor other teachers for a portion of their school day. They claim the role of a mentor teacher is fulfilling because they enjoy helping newer teachers with various things in the classroom.
“This is the first year, is the first time the program is happening, so this is a brand new program that’s never happened before,” said Vincutonis.
“Myself and Mrs. Vincutonis are mentor teachers,” Vergara said, “We teach half the day and mentor the other half of the day.”
Even though Vergara wasn’t mentored when she first came to PHS, she’s always been willing to help and assist other teachers when she started teaching at Poinciana. Vincutonis started teaching at Celebration High but has been at PHS for 14 years, which makes her a very experienced and qualified teacher, exceptional qualities to have when you are tasked to being a mentor.
Mentor teachers are not only friends but advisers and colleagues that challenge teachers to become the best they can possibly be. They are role models to new teachers and someone to help them with anything a newer teacher needs.
“We work together on lesson plans, we try to find good teaching practices and strategies for them so that the lessons are more interesting and the students can work in a respectful and safe environment, ” said Vincutonis, “And also so that the expectations are really high for every student and that the students can reach that, so that’s really important.”
Being a veteran in the classroom has allowed both Vergara and Vincutonis to impart wisdom to the newer teachers. Starting out at a new place can be stressful. It’s important that mentor teachers are able and willing to give not only professional advice but effectively listen to the newer teacher’s needs.
“I’m just really supportive. I listen to their concerns and challenges,” Vergara said. “I sit and listen to them and I get together with teachers to discuss lesson plans. I reach out to them and make appointments. And all the teachers come to me after and before school.”

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