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September 26, 2014

Teacher Mentoring, an Introduction

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    "In every art, beginners must start with models of those who have practiced the same art before them. It is not only a matter of looking at the drawings, paintings, musical compositions, and poems that have been and are being created; it is a matter of being drawn into the individual work of art, of realizing that it has been made by a real human being, and trying to discover the secret of its creation.”  – Ruth Whitman

    It’s been a while since I have been asked to mentor a new teacher. I consider it an honor and a privilege to “coach” a newbie. I think back to when I first started teaching and realize that I, too, had mentors — they were my colleagues and they knew that I was a deer trapped in the headlights. It would have been a difficult struggle to survive my first year without my colleagues' assistance with lesson planning, learning the curriculum, classroom management tips, time management, and the culture of the school just to name a few. They nurtured and helped me to hone my craft and my style of teaching to teach another day. It is with this same energy that I embrace the role of being a teacher mentor.

    1. Make your mentee feel welcome

    Remember that you accepted the role and responsibilities of being a mentor to a new teacher. They are feeling enough anxiety and will welcome a friendly and knowledgeable face. As a welcome to our partnership, I presented my mentee with a "Welcome to School" bag filled with some goodies. Now, I am going to be honest. Putting this bag together was extremely easy. I received the bag from attending Teacher Week at Scholastic this summer. The bag was free. (We all know that teachers love freebies!) I just included some items that I had accumulated from other events. My mentee was very appreciative and loves sporting her teacher bag!

     
     
     

    2. Make a weekly standing appointment

    It is important to meet with your mentee on a regular basis. This should be a sacred time without interruptions. Use this time to address any concerns, go over curriculum, school procedures, and questions. Be sure to keep a log of your meeting time. My mentee and I meet at least once a week to make sure that things are going smoothly. The plan moving forward is for her to observe me teach. 

    3. Make sure to provide instructional strategies

    Your mentor should have the opportunity to see you in action with your students. They will be able draw upon your modeling to improve or modify their instruction if necessary. You want to be proactive with this so that if any struggles occur, you can nip them in the bud. 

    4. Do a morale check

    New teachers can often feel as if they are drowning. Be the non-judgmental sounding board. Sometimes they will just need to vent and know that it will be okay. They will have mishaps and what they learn from those mishaps will make them into better teachers.

    5. Allow the mentee to have a voice

    New teachers are professionals and should be treated as such. Be willing to hear their ideas. You might just learn something new. There must be a common bond of TRUST and RESPECT! My mentee just shared a free lesson plan website with me: www.teacherease.com. I will have to check it out!

    6. Communicate

    Be sure to keep the lines of communication open. Be sure to listen.

      Pearls of Wisdom — Have a laugh with your mentee! Be sure to share the joy of teaching!

    Stay tuned next week for the focus of the mentee — from the voice of a new teacher!

     

    As always, any tips on mentoring that are successful? Please share!

     

    "In every art, beginners must start with models of those who have practiced the same art before them. It is not only a matter of looking at the drawings, paintings, musical compositions, and poems that have been and are being created; it is a matter of being drawn into the individual work of art, of realizing that it has been made by a real human being, and trying to discover the secret of its creation.”  – Ruth Whitman

    It’s been a while since I have been asked to mentor a new teacher. I consider it an honor and a privilege to “coach” a newbie. I think back to when I first started teaching and realize that I, too, had mentors — they were my colleagues and they knew that I was a deer trapped in the headlights. It would have been a difficult struggle to survive my first year without my colleagues' assistance with lesson planning, learning the curriculum, classroom management tips, time management, and the culture of the school just to name a few. They nurtured and helped me to hone my craft and my style of teaching to teach another day. It is with this same energy that I embrace the role of being a teacher mentor.

    1. Make your mentee feel welcome

    Remember that you accepted the role and responsibilities of being a mentor to a new teacher. They are feeling enough anxiety and will welcome a friendly and knowledgeable face. As a welcome to our partnership, I presented my mentee with a "Welcome to School" bag filled with some goodies. Now, I am going to be honest. Putting this bag together was extremely easy. I received the bag from attending Teacher Week at Scholastic this summer. The bag was free. (We all know that teachers love freebies!) I just included some items that I had accumulated from other events. My mentee was very appreciative and loves sporting her teacher bag!

     
     
     

    2. Make a weekly standing appointment

    It is important to meet with your mentee on a regular basis. This should be a sacred time without interruptions. Use this time to address any concerns, go over curriculum, school procedures, and questions. Be sure to keep a log of your meeting time. My mentee and I meet at least once a week to make sure that things are going smoothly. The plan moving forward is for her to observe me teach. 

    3. Make sure to provide instructional strategies

    Your mentor should have the opportunity to see you in action with your students. They will be able draw upon your modeling to improve or modify their instruction if necessary. You want to be proactive with this so that if any struggles occur, you can nip them in the bud. 

    4. Do a morale check

    New teachers can often feel as if they are drowning. Be the non-judgmental sounding board. Sometimes they will just need to vent and know that it will be okay. They will have mishaps and what they learn from those mishaps will make them into better teachers.

    5. Allow the mentee to have a voice

    New teachers are professionals and should be treated as such. Be willing to hear their ideas. You might just learn something new. There must be a common bond of TRUST and RESPECT! My mentee just shared a free lesson plan website with me: www.teacherease.com. I will have to check it out!

    6. Communicate

    Be sure to keep the lines of communication open. Be sure to listen.

      Pearls of Wisdom — Have a laugh with your mentee! Be sure to share the joy of teaching!

    Stay tuned next week for the focus of the mentee — from the voice of a new teacher!

     

    As always, any tips on mentoring that are successful? Please share!

     

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