PREMONT, Texas — Starting this week, Premont Independent School District is implementing a program unique to the area that the district hopes will alleviate pressure on its teachers.
Teachers at Premont Early College Academy will be given one day a week where they will not instruct students, they will instead be given time to review, reflect, and recharge.
“Our teachers give their all, every single day they are here,” said Principal Joel Treviño. “Our teachers need this, they are the ones in the trenches, they deserve to be taken care of.”
The school works on a triad system, where students split time in their day between three teachers in a group. When one teacher has a day without instruction, the students will spend more time with their other two triad teachers. The extra day will give teachers time to plan, catch up on work,and meet with students in smaller groups.
“This is going to give us the opportunity to be able to reflect on what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right,” said fourth and fifth grade writing teacher Gracie Rodriguez. “ A lot of our students are going to see their classroom teachers for longer periods of time, and we’ll be able to work with small groups, we’ll be able to re-teach, answer those questions the kids didn’t get during the day.”
The most important aspect of the program is students will not lose any instructional time.
Additionally, while the students are in class with their other teachers, they will have more time to go more in-depth with the subjects they are focusing on.
“They’re able to do many things in four hours. Besides tier one, they can go to tier two instructional, focus on individual students’ needs,” Treviño said.
The program was inspired by other school districts in the state that have implemented similar initiatives. Treviño said research has shown these districts having success with the program and combating teacher burnout.
“We need to take care of our teachers, they are leaving the profession, and they shouldn’t,” he said. “I can tell you they have the most difficult job, and research does show that a teacher is the number one factor in a student’s success; not their home life, not extracurriculars, it is the teacher that makes or breaks.”
Rodriguez said the last two years have been difficult for teachers, and teachers at the school were very excited when they heard about the program.
“Teachers are leaving the profession because they’re exhausted, and we need to take care of our teachers,” she said. “We do a lot for our students, and I know we can do so much more if we have this pilot program going on, this schedule, this instruction time. I think this is going to benefit all of us.”
Treviño said this program is a trial that will run through the end of the school year. He hopes it will be successful and can continue into next year, and he hopes other districts in the area will adopt similar programs of their own.
“I became a principal to advocate for students and teachers. I would like for other schools to see what we’re doing and perhaps start this trend across South Texas,” he said.