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October 2, 2014 Teacher Mentoring From the New Teacher's Point of View By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    When I considered writing about mentoring new teachers, I knew I had to go to the source — my past and current mentees. Who better to speak on the needs and questions of a new teacher? They would be able to breathe an authentic point of view into this post. I am so grateful for their insights and words of wisdom. It made me wonder: Who’s coaching whom?

     

     

     

     

    Corrine’s Interview

    Corrine was too bashful to take this picture by herself. Thanks Keith Stewart for stepping in!

    Corrine and I still make time to touch base with each other. I am so proud when I walk into her room. She is an amazing teacher. Our conversation was both reflective and touching.

    Me: Corrine, Thank you for allowing me to pick your brain for my post.

    Corrine: Not a problem, how can I help?

    Me: You were one of my first mentees. What about our experience would you be willing to share? If there was one takeaway from working with me that would help someone else, what would it be?

    Corrine: It is very hard to pick just one takeaway when you did so much to help mold me into the teacher I am today! Honestly, I think what was so helpful was when you came into my classroom and modeled lessons for me. This led to us co-teaching. You would lead the way and then seamlessly, I would be teaching the class. It was so valuable watching you and then gradually you watching me.

    You also taught me a lot about classroom management (which is always a weak point for new teachers). You told me things that worked for you (positive reward systems). You were also someone I always felt I could vent to and trust. You would always understand and offered a listening ear if that's what I needed, or priceless wise words of advice. Lastly, I appreciated it when you would sit down with me for an observation lesson and make suggestions for improvement, or compliment something I did to reassure me.

    Me: Wow! There’s nothing left for me to ask. Thank you for your input!

    Side note on my mentoring Corrine: During the time when I mentored her, I had just become my school’s new literacy coach and welcomed the opportunity to work with a teacher who did not mind having the coach in their classroom.

     

    Jaslyn’s Interview

    Jaslyn is my newbie. She is very energetic and it is obvious to me that she wants to excel. We are in the beginning stages of the mentoring process and working out the bumps in the road. But this partnership has the makings of an adventurous journey — like Thelma and Louise, minus the drive off the cliff.

    Me: What are your expectations regarding the mentoring process?

    Jaslyn: My expectations regarding the mentoring process are to gain insight from a knowledgeable and experienced teacher, to know that I have someone who can be my safe haven when I am feeling overwhelmed, and to learn some effective teaching strategies that I can incorporate into my own classroom.

    Me: If you could pick the top five issues that I could assist you in, what would they be?

    Jaslyn: This is easy. I would choose time management and organization, establishing effective rules and procedures in my classroom, development of engaging and meaningful lesson plans, best ways to collect data on students, and how to use data to improve instruction.

    Me: What do you think could be helpful and or damaging to the mentor/mentee partnership?

    Jaslyn: I believe that it is essential for me to be open and honest with my mentor about my fears and concerns in order to truly gain meaningful advice and feedback from her. Likewise, I believe it would be helpful for my mentor to be open with me and help me to understand that it is normal to have fears and concerns. Furthermore, it is also essential for my mentor to be open and honest by providing me with constructive criticism.

    I believe that a lack of communication between mentor and mentee could be damaging because it prevents both parties from understanding what issues may need to be addressed on behalf of the mentee.

    Me: If there was a survival kit for new teachers, what should it include and why?

    Jaslyn: A “New Teacher Survival Kit” would include tools for classroom management, suggestions for organizing the classroom and teacher workspace, an agenda that includes important dates (there are so many to remember!), a list of useful resources for lesson planning, a list of important contacts, and a book that was actually suggested to me by, our vice principal, Mr. Whitman, The First Days of School by Harry Wong. These items, I believe support the new teacher as they learn and enhance their teaching style.

    It was a humbling experience to chat with my colleagues. This post is dedicated to Jaslyn and Corrine. Thank you so much for your candor, time, and insights into the teacher mentor/mentee process.

    After speaking with Jaslyn, I realized that there is still more to cover on this topic. Look forward to Part 3 — New Teacher’s Survival Kit!

     

    Pearls of Wisdom — When working with a colleague, be open to the process and willing to listen and share.

    For you new teachers — what would you like to have in your survival kit? Check in next week when I share some of Jaslyn's ideas and we look at resources right here in the Scholastic New Teacher area.

     

    When I considered writing about mentoring new teachers, I knew I had to go to the source — my past and current mentees. Who better to speak on the needs and questions of a new teacher? They would be able to breathe an authentic point of view into this post. I am so grateful for their insights and words of wisdom. It made me wonder: Who’s coaching whom?

     

     

     

     

    Corrine’s Interview

    Corrine was too bashful to take this picture by herself. Thanks Keith Stewart for stepping in!

    Corrine and I still make time to touch base with each other. I am so proud when I walk into her room. She is an amazing teacher. Our conversation was both reflective and touching.

    Me: Corrine, Thank you for allowing me to pick your brain for my post.

    Corrine: Not a problem, how can I help?

    Me: You were one of my first mentees. What about our experience would you be willing to share? If there was one takeaway from working with me that would help someone else, what would it be?

    Corrine: It is very hard to pick just one takeaway when you did so much to help mold me into the teacher I am today! Honestly, I think what was so helpful was when you came into my classroom and modeled lessons for me. This led to us co-teaching. You would lead the way and then seamlessly, I would be teaching the class. It was so valuable watching you and then gradually you watching me.

    You also taught me a lot about classroom management (which is always a weak point for new teachers). You told me things that worked for you (positive reward systems). You were also someone I always felt I could vent to and trust. You would always understand and offered a listening ear if that's what I needed, or priceless wise words of advice. Lastly, I appreciated it when you would sit down with me for an observation lesson and make suggestions for improvement, or compliment something I did to reassure me.

    Me: Wow! There’s nothing left for me to ask. Thank you for your input!

    Side note on my mentoring Corrine: During the time when I mentored her, I had just become my school’s new literacy coach and welcomed the opportunity to work with a teacher who did not mind having the coach in their classroom.

     

    Jaslyn’s Interview

    Jaslyn is my newbie. She is very energetic and it is obvious to me that she wants to excel. We are in the beginning stages of the mentoring process and working out the bumps in the road. But this partnership has the makings of an adventurous journey — like Thelma and Louise, minus the drive off the cliff.

    Me: What are your expectations regarding the mentoring process?

    Jaslyn: My expectations regarding the mentoring process are to gain insight from a knowledgeable and experienced teacher, to know that I have someone who can be my safe haven when I am feeling overwhelmed, and to learn some effective teaching strategies that I can incorporate into my own classroom.

    Me: If you could pick the top five issues that I could assist you in, what would they be?

    Jaslyn: This is easy. I would choose time management and organization, establishing effective rules and procedures in my classroom, development of engaging and meaningful lesson plans, best ways to collect data on students, and how to use data to improve instruction.

    Me: What do you think could be helpful and or damaging to the mentor/mentee partnership?

    Jaslyn: I believe that it is essential for me to be open and honest with my mentor about my fears and concerns in order to truly gain meaningful advice and feedback from her. Likewise, I believe it would be helpful for my mentor to be open with me and help me to understand that it is normal to have fears and concerns. Furthermore, it is also essential for my mentor to be open and honest by providing me with constructive criticism.

    I believe that a lack of communication between mentor and mentee could be damaging because it prevents both parties from understanding what issues may need to be addressed on behalf of the mentee.

    Me: If there was a survival kit for new teachers, what should it include and why?

    Jaslyn: A “New Teacher Survival Kit” would include tools for classroom management, suggestions for organizing the classroom and teacher workspace, an agenda that includes important dates (there are so many to remember!), a list of useful resources for lesson planning, a list of important contacts, and a book that was actually suggested to me by, our vice principal, Mr. Whitman, The First Days of School by Harry Wong. These items, I believe support the new teacher as they learn and enhance their teaching style.

    It was a humbling experience to chat with my colleagues. This post is dedicated to Jaslyn and Corrine. Thank you so much for your candor, time, and insights into the teacher mentor/mentee process.

    After speaking with Jaslyn, I realized that there is still more to cover on this topic. Look forward to Part 3 — New Teacher’s Survival Kit!

     

    Pearls of Wisdom — When working with a colleague, be open to the process and willing to listen and share.

    For you new teachers — what would you like to have in your survival kit? Check in next week when I share some of Jaslyn's ideas and we look at resources right here in the Scholastic New Teacher area.

     

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