FREDERICK COUNTY, MD - Neil Metzgar always dreamed of being a teacher.
"I'm very happy to be in Frederick County Public Schools. It's where I went to school and graduated from," said Metzgar, who teaches at Catoctin High School.
Now he's teaching government and American studies. He felt some nerves as a new teacher, but his mentor is always around to lend a helping hand.
"They're just someone if you need something, they're right down the hall, and you can go to them for just about anything you could imagine," Metzgar said. "When you're a first-year teacher, that comes up just about every single day."
Frederick County Public Schools started a program this year where all 130 new teachers get a mentor. The mentors are master teachers and work with the new hires throughout the year.
"They will continue to work with these teachers throughout the year, growing them in their teaching practice by having reflective conversations, getting them innovative, cutting-edge information," said Amy Cordes, teacher specialist with FCPS.
Walking down the hall for the first time can be very intimidating for new teachers. Many of them say the program has made them feel more comfortable, both inside and outside of the classroom.
"She's two doors down, and I can go to her at any time and ask a question. I e-mail her late at night saying please help me with this, and I couldn't do it without her guidance," said Emily Wilson, who teaches fourth grade at Green Valley Elementary School.
New teachers also meet with each other at training and mentoring sessions throughout the year, such as on how to hold parent-teacher conferences.
"I think this is a great program that Frederick County has for new teachers. It's great that they can get together and bounce ideas off of each other. It's nice they can have that collaborative partnership and ease themselves into that first year of teaching," said Emily Quinlan, a master teacher at Twin Ridge Elementary School.
Metzgar wants to make sure he can communicate well with his students. That's just one of the things he'll continue to learn with the help of his mentor, while turning the page on a new chapter in his life.
Metzgar is looking forward to coaching lacrosse in the spring. Wilson hopes to someday become a school counselor.