Professional Learning

Why Must We Mentor New Teachers?

Hi there. You are an experienced teacher with lots to offer and little time. Your principal comes up to you and says this year you will mentor so and so. You cringe because that is just another duty that is spreading what little time you have into less time available. So why should you do? What benefits are there to you to help a 'newbie?' I am providing some articles that are free to help us get started. Please don't say you are doing it for money because there is no amount of money available to justify the time it will take of you. Let's be honest here. Negative view are accepted.


Mentoring the New Teacher Collection
(8 items)
Perspectives: Mentoring New Teachers
     -Journal Article

     -
With a Little Help from my Friends
     -Journal Article

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101490 Activity Points

Hi Adah.

Mentoring new teachers can be a challenge when you are asked to go it alone or have a principal sign up up for mentoring a new teacher perhaps out of your content area/grade level.

I scanned some of the articles you posted and read Supporting Beginning Science Teachers

The article states: " Recent attempts to reconceptualize induction programs, such as NSTA’s
eMSS (http://emss.nsta.org) and the New Teacher Center in California http://www.
newteachercenter.org ), show promise in helping beginning science teachers and may soon become standard practice

I am in my fourth year working with this program. We mentor new science, math and special education teachers in a year long online professional development community. This year I have a new position as a facilitator of mentors.

Within this community we have many supports for BOTH the mentor teachers of new teachers and new teachers (mentees) .

* An online forum for mentors to help mentors work with their mentees.

* An online forum for mentees to work with their own mentor who is experienced in their content area and grade level.

* Several online forums for specific content ( life. earth , chemistry) which are facilitated by both teachers experienced teaching this content in the classroom and scientists who specialize in this content area

* Each month we have Topic of the Month and Classroom Dilemmas related to this topic which both mentors and mentees discuss as well as eight week Inquiries into topics like classroom management, students understanding and lab development.

There is a saying that "Many hands make light work". I have personally experienced how this mentoring program has helped many new science teachers.

http://www.newteachercenter.org/eMSS/menu.php?p=home

Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

Adah, I think this is such an important topic as we are losing almost half of all new teachers within the first five years. One idea I had was to take your post and turn it into a dilemma type prompt we use in eMSS. I am going to use a fictional name for the experienced teacher and create a possible scenario for us to discuss. What do you think ? Arlene JL Dilemma: [i] Mr. Nelson, an experienced high school life science teacher, who is already on many district committees as well as a multiple sports coach, has been asked by his principal to mentor a new science teacher who works as an environment science teacher. Mr. Nelson has not much experience mentoring new teachers. He is not looking forward to this new task added to his busy life.[/i] For discussion: [b][i]What would you view as both the positive and negative aspects for Mr Nelson in this situation? [/i][/b] [b][i]What advice do you have for Mr. Nelson as a mentor to a new science teacher? [/i][/b] What resources can you suggest for Mr. Nelson as he begins working with this new science teacher?

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

I like the dilema. I would tell him to do it and that he also will grow as a teacher as his mentee grows. I would also say that if he didn't do it, the mentee would miss out on valuable advice and good examples. In the long run, it is up to the teacher but maybe he needs to back out of some of those committees to do this. I have a mentee that is now a teacher. I have another one who was just wonderful and we both grew from the experience.

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101490 Activity Points

Hi Adah, As a new teacher, I always appreciate it when a veteran teacher takes the time to help me. My school does have an official mentoring program that pairs new teachers with experienced teachers. In my opinion, the mentor teachers don't have a negative view of their mentoring duties (as a matter of fact, we have more teachers volunteering to mentor than we have new teachers) and veteran teachers who are not my assigned "mentor" are always willing to give me advice or to help me whenever I need it. I enjoyed reading Arlene's post about the new teacher training program that she's involved in. Training our new teachers is critical and by passing along our "corporate knowledge" of teaching, we help new teachers from "reinventing the wheel". Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

Not just new teachers need mentors! When I was told I had to teach social studies one year (I practically flunked political science as an undergrad!), I wouldn't have made it without my colleague taking me under her wing. So "new" can mean a veteran teacher taking on a new role/assignment. When we have to take on new assignments outside of our areas of expertise, our students benefit even more than we do when we are matched up with a colleague that has the experience and expertise in that field.
Arlene asked, "What advice do you have for Mr. Nelson as a mentor to a new science teacher?" Sometimes it is difficult for experienced teachers to remember just how hard it was when they first started out. Arlene, I would tell our proverbial Mr. Nelson that he will have to teach Home Economics next year and ask him if he wants a mentor.

Of course, I was being facetious above and overly critical of our imaginary Mr. Nelson. It sounds like Mr. Nelson has a full professional plate time-wise. Students suffer when teachers are spread too thin. Teachers should not be coerced to be mentors, and they should receive adequate training.
The trend toward professional learning communities (including teams of teachers working closely with each other while servicing the same group of students) encourages collaboration and sharing of expertise and resources. But even that doesn't take the place of a colleague trained to be a mentor.

I am wondering what others think about mentoring as something that every experienced teacher should have to do. Districts are "redoing" their teacher evaluation forms to include all of Charlotte Danielson's Domains for Teaching (and Learning).
Does the term "professionalism" mandate every teacher to be a mentor?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

Hello All, I am currently in the 3rd year of my teaching program. I started and social sciences and moved to biology. I must say that I have been fortunate enough over the last 5 years to work as a para, a sub, and a long-term sub. If I did not have those experiances I would be very nervous and overwhelmed about walking into a classroom all my own. I have watched 8 new teachers come into teaching and 3 of them have moved into other fields and there was no true mentoring program to help them out. Having known those teachers personally I can say that two of them would have stayed if anyone would have helped them out. I am personally praying for a good mentoring program where ever I start teaching. I know I can make it past the 5 year mark, but I know having someone to help me navigate a new road would help me to see the potholes before I fall into them. Amanda Rogers Mannheim, Germany

Amanda Rogers
Amanda Rogers
115 Activity Points

Mentoring is important, but I feel it is only one piece of the "support" puzzle. We need to provide new teachers with mentors, but also experienced teachers with opportunities. All teachers need to have the time, space, and resources to collaborate, troubleshoot, plan, etc. When there is possible way to collaborate in real-time, we need to provide online options. We cannot afford to work in our own one-room school house any longer.

Eric C. Sandberg
Eric Sandberg
8690 Activity Points

As a 3rd year teacher I can say that without mentoring I can see why many new teachers never make it. So many duties and things that are given to you that college and teaching programs don't prepare you for. It can be overwhelming without the aid/ear of an experienced educator. I know my first year teaching and as a single parent I felt overwhelmed at first till a veteran teacher in my school pulled me aside and explained that it really didn't need to be done all at one time, and that I really needed to leave school at school and quit taking stacks of papers home to grade. I was in a small rural school and was/still am the science department. I had never been told about inventories, ordering, or even planning for an entire year in terms of lab materials. I can say that without mentoring of new teachers, even outside your discipline, most won't make it to see tenure.

Kevin Newman
Kevin Newman
610 Activity Points

Here is a link to an article I just read on a mentoring program in Oakland that is proving to be very successful for new teachers there. Oakland Mentoring Program
I think that in many ways a mentoring program for new teachers can also turn into a meaningful experience for the mentors as well. I have been both a mentor and a mentee and always appreciated getting a chance to reflect on my own classroom practice while working with a teacher who was new to the classroom. As a new teacher, having a teacher with experience help guide you along was one of the reasons I made it through my first year!

Kate Geer
Kate Geer
7865 Activity Points

Kate, I can not agree more. I began my teaching career in Fairfax County, VA and the success of my first year was greatly influenced by the support provided by fellow teachers in my department and school, as well that provided through the Great Beginnings New Teacher Induction Program sponsored by the district. The opportunity to come together with other middle school teachers from across the district, at various stages of their career, was invaluable.

What types of support have been most beneficial to those of you who are in your first years of teaching?

Lara Smetana
Lara Smetana
5580 Activity Points

[color=blue]Here is a link to an article I just read on a mentoring program in Oakland that is proving to be very successful for new teachers there. Oakland Mentoring Program
I think that in many ways a mentoring program for new teachers can also turn into a meaningful experience for the mentors as well.

I have been both a mentor and a mentee and always appreciated getting a chance to reflect on my own classroom practice while working with a teacher who was new to the classroom. As a new teacher, having a teacher with experience help guide you along was one of the reasons I made it through my first year![/color]

Kate,

I just reviewed this article. The program which worked to establish a science mentoring programs was the New Teachers Center in Santa Cruz. http://www.newteachercenter.org/index.php This is the same program which works with the online mentoring program. I am involved. http://www.newteachercenter.org/eMSS/menu.php?p=home

I agree that I learn so much from working in this program. IMHO it does take time and training to learn how to mentor.

Here is a quote from the Oakland Mentoring Program:

In the first year, we were focused on learning basic mentoring skills. How do we talk to our teachers about the issues they are facing? How do we use these mentoring tools? We had to learn to be good mentors first. Now that we are in our third year, we are learning what we can do as science mentors. Many of our beginning teachers have been trained to "cover" large amounts of material, because that is what is on the test. Sometimes they do not understand how to teach or assess their students' deeper understanding. So we have spent time this year probing how much our students are really grasping, and developing strategies to deepen this.

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

Hi Amanda and other posters,
I hope you have access to a wonderful mentoring program when you land your first teaching position, too, Amanda! Many states are requiring mentoring programs; I wonder if there are similar mandates in other countries such as where you are at in Germany. I did an advanced search in the NSTA Learning Center and there were 24 resources that popped up using the term "mentoring". This particular article made me think of you, Amanda. It is entitled, "Everyone Needs a Mentor".
Thanks, fellow posters for the great resources that have been posted thus far. I hope to check out each of them this week.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

Thank you for you post Adah, I am new to this site, infact I haven't even done my student teaching yet. I am however one of those whom have chosen teaching as a second career. I am in my last semester of classes before student teaching begins here in Illinois. I do believe in the mentoring program, I have seen too many young teachers quit altogether because they did not have a mentor to talk with. The first years of teaching can be an exciting time, just as an career path you may choose. As long as there is someone to be a mentor to you it is not impossible to survie and get to a tenure position. I know I am in an uphill battle right now. However, I believe in not giving up. I just hope there are mentors such as those I have seen posting on this site so far to help guide me as I pursue the endeavor of educating the future leaders in our classrooms. Thank You

Thomas Daniels
Thomas Daniels
20 Activity Points

One way to build a community to help mentor new teachers is to include them in professional development communities like those that are grant funded. Too often, new teachers don't hear about these opportunities or are passed over by school district personnel because they are new. When new teachers are included in such programs, they have a community of mentors within the professional development program. Imagine being a new teacher included in some of the NSTA/NASA programs that helped build the Learning Center Discussion Forums! In this way new teachers need a local mentor for local procedures, processes, values, etc. and can get additional mentoring from the online community.

Bambi Bailey
Bambi Bailey
9515 Activity Points

Hi, I am a third year teacher, but also a career changer. I have been in two very different mentoring programs at two different schools. I have found that mentoring must be purposeful and meaningful to be beneficial. First, mentoring must be purposeful ~ new teachers have so much to get to used to - classroom management, lesson planning, grading etc..., and they often find themselves "time stressed" - too much to do in too little time. So for a mentoring program to ask "extra" time of the teacher - such as to stay after school for any time, the presentation/activity must be meaningful and applicable. I have sat through some very powerful and important after school mentoring sessions, and I have also sat through sessions that were social settings or that simple restated information I already knew or had previously been presented. Many newer teachers are too stressed with time management issues; mentoring sessions need to demonstrate that the teachers' time is valuable and respected. Also, mentoring needs to be meaningful. I had a mentor in a previous school who simply stopped by my room every two or three weeks, dropped off a couple different worksheets and asked if I had any questions. There was very little interaction, she never came to evaluate my teaching or lesson plans ideas, and after mid-year I rarely saw her at all. In my current school, my mentor checks in frequently, has evaluated my teaching, respects my time, and is always available to answer questions. He has become my "window" to understanding how "things work" within the school and district - something very meaningful and important. When mentoring is done well, it is very powerful. However, when mentoring is done poorly, it can actual work against keeping newer teachers in the classroom. Just my thoughts on the topic...thoughts? commments? similar experiences?

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

As a pre-service teacher in Maryland, I too can attest to the importance of mentoring and support when you are a new teacher or just a veteran teacher in a new situation. I have done some substitute teaching and do truly believe that has prepared me well for when I do have my own classroom. I begin my student teaching next Spring and am looking forward to hopefully having some excited, energetic and supportive mentor teachers to work with both in my student teaching and in my years to come as a teacher.

Jennifer Rahorn
Jennifer Rahorn
820 Activity Points

As a pre-service teacher in Maryland, I too can attest to the importance of mentoring and support when you are a new teacher or just a veteran teacher in a new situation. I have done some substitute teaching and do truly believe that has prepared me well for when I do have my own classroom. I begin my student teaching next Spring and am looking forward to hopefully having some excited, energetic and supportive mentor teachers to work with both in my student teaching and in my years to come as a teacher.

Jennifer,
If you have any needs for resources or want to discuss your student teaching experiences in science do know that you can post your own topic right here on the discussion forums. Many teachers here in various stages of their teaching careers can help you

Our collective best to you,

Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

I just received my summer issue of NSTA Reports . The cover article is on the Many Faces of Mentoring
http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=58685

There is a discussion about online mentoring and the benefits and concerns regarding f2f mentoring and online mentoring. The use of new tools such as skype and smart phones can "help e-mentoring provide the immediacy of in-person mentoring."

Can e-mentoring , with the addition of new media tools, replace f2f mentoring?

Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

Hi All: I agree with what everyone is saying. Yes, mentoring is a vital part of a learning experience. I am going to play devil advocate here. What about a new teacher getting assigned to a person who is not a good teacher either in abilities or in attitude. In my school the principal assigns mentees and sometimes the fit is not good. What should happen then? Just a thought!

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101490 Activity Points

Arlene asked, "Can e-mentoring , with the addition of new media tools, replace f2f mentoring?"

I would think e-mentoring can work just as well as face to face mentoring as long as you are able to build rapport. I have had great experiences with both. I have an e-mentor through the American Association of Physics Teachers. My e-mentor helps me brainstorm and is always there to help me with difficult content. We communicate mostly via e-mail. I have also had face to face mentoring experiences. Some have been good and some have been not so good. It really depends on the people involved in the mentoring relationship.

Ruth Lehmann Hutson
Ruth Hutson
58840 Activity Points

I have only been a "new teacher," and I would hope that another teacher would have some time or interest to mentor me. I have been in the "mentoring" role as a research chemist and as server/bartender in the restaurant business. It is time-consuming, and a test of patience and organization skills. You must juggle more than you like but if approached with a positive attitude, I have found a lot of satisfaction in mentoring others. Having been a mentor myself (again, not in the classroom, but in a lab setting or in a restaurant setting), I know what stresses the mentor may be under and I take that into consideration when I ask for assistance when I need the mentoring. I know everyone is different, and that personalities may clash, but I have learned a lot from those "differences" and those "clashes" about how to be a better employee, better co-worker, and better mentor. So I hope when I am back to teaching that I am fortunate to have a mentor teacher who will honestly tell me, "Hey, I'm busy with such and such, but I can meet with you at these times to assist you." I think the frustration about mentoring on both ends is a product of possible lack of boundaries being set from the beginning about time restraints and responsibility load. I think this is an excellent topic to discuss, especially in light of the generational gaps among teachers nowadays. Each generation, in some way, displays a potentially different perspective on teaching and on work ethics in general. Thank you for reading this.

Elizabeth Jacobs
Elizabeth Jacobs
2520 Activity Points

Hello. Last year I completed my first year of teaching. I was in a very unique situation. Although I teach science I was being mentored by a Math Special Ed instructor who travelled among classrooms at various schools. My experience is even more unique since I was not at my school's campus but rather another affiliated district. The mentor I had was wonderful however I would have rather been on campus and had access to other science instrutors. I think those who mentor as either colleagues or as educational collaborators (those that allow student teachers) are very valuable. Although, I am unemployed now (lack of enrollment) I know that the information I gathered as a mentee and from that first year experience can carry forward in this career...if I can just make it through this recession. Thank you to those that mentor.

Tammi Kreckel
Tammi Kreckel
3930 Activity Points

Tammy, I have been an e-mentor for new science and special education teachers for several years One of the sad facts of our current economy is watching motivated teachers such as yourself lose their job. Over the last few years in our online program we have had to help our new teachers keep their spirits and enthusiasm up for their students and teaching as they waited for the 'pink slip'. [i]This should not be....... Not when education needs to be a priority. [/i] My best to you, Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

I can tell you that as a (fairly) new teacher, I appreciate it A LOT when teachers try to give me constructive suggestions and feedback, I only wish that I could have had more people give me different perspectives when I was really new. Of course I still consider myself to be a pretty new teacher, I'm in my third year now, but I am finally able to say with some confidence that I have been able to help other teachers who just started this year, be it sharing lesson plans and discussing teaching strategies and instruction implementation. I hope that no matter how many years I will have under my belt, that I will always have an open mind and incorporate innovative and creative ideas into my lessons regardless of who suggested them. In this respect, I think that veteran teachers can really learn a lot from new teachers too because in some respects us newbies really have high and lofty goals (not saying that veteran teachers don't, but some I feel lose sight of this every now and then, I know I do and I wouldn't even consider myself experienced). It helps us to be reminded of the simple things that work. Heck, even students teach me something new every day, and that makes teaching a very rewarding profession.

Loren Nomura
Loren Nomura
4055 Activity Points

Hi everyone, I am a pre-service teacher working at a Baltimore County Public Elementary school. Although I am not officially a teacher yet, I can understand how important it is for new teachers to have mentors. First of all, I am astonished by the workload! It is not as if I was expecting not to have huge amounts of work, but new teachers start out with limited resources and background! I know that next year, pending I get a job, I will heavily count on a teacher to help me organize my classroom and introduce me to practices and procedures in my school. Also, other teachers in your grade teach to the same curriculum (grade-wise) and have built up a library of resources that apply to those topics. These teachers, as long as they are comfortable with sharing their resources, are a great launching off point for new teachers. I believe that the NSTA learning center is also a great resource for new teachers. If we are stuck on what to teach in science or specific lesson plans, we can turn to this site!! After browsing through a variety of topics, I feel better prepared to teach science because of this great network. Anyway, to wrap it up, I think that mentoring teachers are definitely an asset to new teachers and especially if they are willing and prepared to take on the responsibility. Thanks to all the veteran teachers and online resources that are there to assist new teachers and help us build up our experiences in the classroom!!!

Lauren Clark
Lauren Clark
595 Activity Points

Mentoring: Pass it On ... As was mentioned before, it's not just new science teachers who need mentoring. As new technologies become increasingly common in our classrooms, it is often the more established science teacher who may need mentoring regarding integrating new digital learning technologies creatively into their classroom. This is where the "digital native" generation can really help the "digital immigrants". If you have benefited from mentoring as a new science teacher, consider volunteering your time and energy to mentor your colleagues in integration of digital learning technologies into the classroom. Dorothy Ginnett

Dorothy Ginnett
Dorothy Ginnett
27595 Activity Points

I have just changed careers, and am now a maths and physics teacher at the high school level. Having a mentor is a tremendous advantage. It allows me to bounce ideas off of a seasoned teacher, as well as seek refuge during times of classroom management collapses. My district requires a mentor, and I am glad. Those teachers who are not rewarded a mentor may seem to be lost in the sea of children during their first few months. If there is no general department office I find many new teachers stay in their room and fail to venture out and discover the people behind those adult faces in the sea of children.

Keith Godlewski
Keith Godlewski
2810 Activity Points

Most of us needed some type of help or guidance when we started out as new teachers. The nature of help needed could have been as simple as how to sign in to as complex as discipline issues or understanding and teaching the content material. The same holds true today. Many teachers need some kind of assistance with the implementation of their duties and responsibilities. Thus we need to continue to mentor teachers.

Uriel Richardson
Uriel Richardson
2395 Activity Points

As a student teacher I appreciate your willingness to share your time with new teachers. I hope that when I become a teacher that I will be lucky enough to have a mentor like you>

Terry Farley
Terry Farley
2530 Activity Points

I am considered a new teacher, and although I am not new to [i]teaching[i] as in 'helping people learn', I am very new to the plethora of public school paperwork and regulations that threaten to smother me! If it were not for the generous souls who informally mentor me, I would be L O S T. My official school mentor is lovely, but is so busy that I hate to disturb them with questions. Those of you who mentor, THANK YOU!!!

Rebecca Jane Austin-Datta
Rebecca Austin Datta
3515 Activity Points

Such great ideas about mentoring so I decided to post some points made over the last few months [i][b]Some thoughts about mentoring[/b] [/i] [list] Veteran teachers can learn from new teachers who may have high goals and new ideas to bring to the field of teaching New teachers need help with the organization, paperwork and procedures when just starting out as well as finding teaching resources mentors may already have compiled Intergrating digital technology in the classroom may be a skill new digital native teachers can help digital immigrant teachers The NSTA Learning Center has the resources and fellow teachers to help new teachers. Having a mentor helps when you need classroom management tips. Venturing out of your classroom to seek help and learn from the 'adult faces' in a sea of students : ) Getting help from mentors can range from simple how to sign in to complex discipline issues. Needs of new teachers change daily There is gratitude for the many ways mentors can help new teachers and for those you help informally on a daily basis [/list] Notes from the Field [i]I think that veteran teachers can really learn a lot from new teachers too because in some respects us newbies really have high and lofty goals (not saying that veteran teachers don't, but some I feel lose sight of this every now and then, I know I do and I wouldn't even consider myself experienced). It helps us to be reminded of the simple things that work. Heck, even students teach me something new every day, and that makes teaching a very rewarding profession.[/i] [b]Loren [/b] [i]First of all, I am astonished by the workload! It is not as if I was expecting not to have huge amounts of work, but new teachers start out with limited resources and background! I know that next year, pending I get a job, I will heavily count on a teacher to help me organize my classroom and introduce me to practices and procedures in my school. Also, other teachers in your grade teach to the same curriculum (grade-wise) and have built up a library of resources that apply to those topics. These teachers, as long as they are comfortable with sharing their resources, are a great launching off point for new teachers. I believe that the NSTA learning center is also a great resource for new teacher[/i]s [b]Lauren [/b] [i]As new technologies become increasingly common in our classrooms, it is often the more established science teacher who may need mentoring regarding integrating new digital learning technologies creatively into their classroom.[/i] [b]Dorothy [/b] [i]l. Having a mentor is a tremendous advantage. It allows me to bounce ideas off of a seasoned teacher, as well as seek refuge during times of classroom management collapses. My district requires a mentor, and I am glad. Those teachers who are not rewarded a mentor may seem to be lost in the sea of children during their first few months. If there is no general department office I find many new teachers stay in their room and fail to venture out and discover the people behind those adult faces in the sea of children.[/i] [b]Keith [/b] [i]The nature of help needed could have been as simple as how to sign in to as complex as discipline issues or understanding and teaching the content material. The same holds true today. Many teachers need some kind of assistance with the implementation of their duties and responsibilities. Thus we need to continue to mentor teachers. [/i] [b]Uriel[/b] [i] As a student teacher I appreciate your willingness to share your time with new teachers. I hope that when I become a teacher that I will be lucky enough to have a mentor like you [/i] [b]Terry[/b] [i]I am very new to the plethora of public school paperwork and regulations that threaten to smother me! If it were not for the generous souls who informally mentor me, I would be L O S T. My official school mentor is lovely, but is so busy that I hate to disturb them with questions. Those of you who mentor, THANK YOU!! [/i] [b]Rebecca[/b]

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

Adah asked, "What about a new teacher getting assigned to a person who is not a good teacher either in abilities or in attitude. In my school the principal assigns mentees and sometimes the fit is not good. What should happen then?" I think that happens all to often, Adah. Especially in school districts where there is a stipend attached (and I DO think teachers should be paid for all the extra time it takes). Unless the school district has filters in place, mentors sometimes get chosen because they have seniority over ability - to nurture and model best teaching and professional practices. What about your school district? Does a list of prerequisites exist to help principals or district administrators determine suitability and effectiveness of mentor teachers?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

One person posted that they have more teachers that volunteer to mentor than they actually have new teachers. I think that is an important thing. It should be the ones that VOLUNTEER to do this. Nobody wants a mentor that doesn't want to do it. That negativity will rub off on the mentee...

Kristin Fitzgerald
Kristin Fitzgerald
350 Activity Points

I was assigned my first mentee last year. I was actually mentoring him even before he was officially assigned to me. In my heart, I can't sit and watch a teacher struggle with the new things, so I was helping him as much as I could. When my supervisor saw I was doing this, he contacted the district and actually got me reimbursement as a reward for my work. I am now mentoring two new teachers and absolutely love it. I like helping them with the little things that I forgot were difficult in the beginning. It's also a wonderful symbiotic relationship because they help keep me up to date on all the latest and greatest things they have been learning. Mentoring is really a win-win situation. :-)

Jen Murphy
Jen Murphy
270 Activity Points

As I read through each of your posts in this thread, it was heart-warming to see the support expressed for mentoring. I found as a mentor, that it was a symbiotic relationship; my mentee and I both benefited from working together. I just read an article in The Science Teacher journal that included a Knowledge and Skills Checklist that could be of value to mentees and mentors alike. I am sharing the article here: Mentoring new Science Teachers. As the article mentions, this checklist might be an excellent tool for both mentees and mentors to identify areas that have room for improvement. I am wondering what roadblocks or problems mentors have encountered as they have taken on mentoring roles in their schools. I would also love to hear from mentees - how might your mentors be of even more help to you?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

I am a first year teacher and I know that if I didn't have the support I had, I would cringe going into work everyday. I work at a very low-income school and culturally there are a lot of differences. I look to the experienced teacher because they can help me become a better teacher.

Kelly Amendola
Kelly Amendola
10310 Activity Points

I usually mentor one teacher per semester, and as one teacher on this forum put it, it's a symbiotic relationship. I get as much out of mentoring as the mentored teacher does. It's definitely a give and take thing, especially after the mentee gains a little confidence. I look forward to working with new teachers because I always learn something from them and many times develop new perspectives. I particularly have enjoyed mentoring teachers through the National Board Certification process.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Carolyn - We are currently drafting requirements to become a mentor. The difficulty is it is hard to quantify, or even describe, those requirements. Some teachers can be excellent mentors after five years of teaching, but generally the more experience the better prepared. We have found that written recommendations are often not helpful, administrators and peers are signing off without recognizing those qualities that would make a good mentor. You are correct when pay and contractual issues are brought into the position that it becomes more difficult. Mentors should be paid, but mentoring is not a hourly job.

Louise McMinn
Louise McMinn
5550 Activity Points

Hi Louise, It is exciting to hear how district administrators are making their mentoring program a priority by creating a rigorous process for determining who will provide mentoring to the new teachers in their schools. I am wondering if your district (in addition to describing the requirements) will expect perspective mentors to 'apply' for the position. Each year I was expected to complete an application form that asked questions that helped me (as the applicant) to understand not only the high expectations that would be placed on me in this position, but it also gave me time to pause and consider what time and expertise commitments I would have to make. The form served as a reminder to the mentor applicant that this should not be a position to consider if one is expecting the monetary award to match the time and energy commitments; compensation also comes from the personal and professional rewards one will receive from working closely with a mentee. I hope you will share your draft with us. Perhaps others will share what they do to identify and secure dedicated and highly qualified mentors for their new teachers. Margaret, I had considered applying for and completing the National Board Certification, but for a variety of reasons, did not pursue it before I retired from public school teaching. I know several colleagues who have nothing but positive, affirming comments about their journeys. Kudos to you for your accomplishment. Would you share how the NBC mentoring process works? Kelly, Thank you for sharing how mentoring support is making your first year a better experience. You have been teaching now for about half a year; can you share specific ways the more experienced teachers have helped you? I was particularly touched by your comment, "I am a first year teacher and I know that if I didn't have the support I had, I would cringe going into work everyday." I remember that feeling at one point in my career. I accepted a position as a long term sub for a teacher who had medical problems and eventually passed away leaving me to finish out the year. I had no support from anyone else in the building. There was no such thing as a "mentor" back then. I had no contact with other instructors in the science department. I still remember my early morning trips to the bathroom for about a month until my confidence and competence caught up with my opposite feelings of inadequacy. Even now I think this would be a situation that would be neglected in today's schools. Mentoring programs do not usually cross over to long term substitutes or to teachers who find themselves after several years of teaching having to teach in a new, unfamiliar discipline. They, too, are like "new" teachers in many ways. I am wondering how teachers who have found themselves in these types of positions coped!?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

Carolyn, When I began the process to become National Board Certified, our district asked us to join a collaborative group of teachers seeking certification. A wonderful woman at the district office attended every meeting, workshop and conference she could find so that she could help mentor us through the process. That was in the year 2000. It was also the first group of teachers who went through the process in our state. Since that time I have been contacted every year by the National Board to mentor teachers going through the process. Mentors are of course required to be certified. We also went through training to prepare us to help those working on the process. They try to match up certified mentors with mentees (spelling ?)who were seeking certification in the same area as the mentor is certified. Each candidate is assigned several mentors so that your entries are read and commented on by several people. Ultimately it is the candidate's decision which advise to follow. I successfully mentored several candidates who achieved certification and it was a very rewarding experience for me as well as for the candidate. Mentors are requested to go through the training periodically in order to keep their skills up to date. I also joined a website for teachers seeking National Board Certification where you can ask questions and are provided with expertise from many different sources. Online mentors provide great organizational advice and resources. I no longer mentor formally, but I continue to help friends and colleagues when they have questions. Two years ago I recertified. I encourage teachers to seek National Board certification because it was one of the best professional development experiences of my entire career.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

All, I love the way this thread was started. Yes, let's all be honest. It is very hard to be a teacher and not feel overwhelmed with all that has to be done along with the teaching. I also can hear the benefits of mentoring and being mentored. I agree that even experienced teachers need mentoring if they move to a new grade or subject area. I also agree that the criteria for a good mentor is hard to articulate or quantify. Our state is just starting to require a mentor coach. These mentors will have to undergo training (probably 2-4 days only) and then will be a mentor. Is that the best way to find a mentor? Does that mean that these teachers will be good mentors? Will that still produce a positive experience for all involved? I have my own opinions but would like to hear others to hopefully change my negative view. Thank you!

Kehau Samuelu
DonnaLynn Samuelu
3475 Activity Points

DonnaLynn, I don't know if there is an ideal way to select mentors. Ideally the people that apply for the jobs have an interest in helping new teachers become rock solid in their teaching craft and they want to see new teacher succeed. They are experienced and they go out of their way to learn how to improve their mentoring skills. Also ideally, mentors are provided with ongoing training that is required in order to continue as a mentor. I know several mentors who are wonderful at what they do. However, I have heard of one or two who were of little help to the teachers they worked with. In one case a young teacher fresh out of college ended up quitting because he said the mentor was constantly negative and had no positive comments to make. The mentors in our district are required to get together and discuss any problems they are having with the teachers they work with and they are required to meet with a committee to find ways to help the teacher succeed. I think there should be ongoing evaluation of the mentors.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I think mentoring is a very valuable tool for new teachers. Especially with schools that are very diverse. Not only teaching and aiding new teachers with guidance, skills, and pointers, but also just helping them understand cultural differences. Here in Hawaii, there are many cultural differences, which, if not understood, can make the school year for new teachers a success, or not. In my opinion, understanding cultural differences can make a huge impact in what you teach and how you teach.

Randolph Florendo
Randolph Florendo
110 Activity Points

As a pre-service teacher I think that it is absolutely essential that new teachers have some sort of a mentor. The guidance that I have received from my mentors has been invaluable and I hope that when I am placed as a teacher that this will not change. Why would I try to reinvent the wheel when I can benefit from the years of experience that another teacher could provide for me? I understand that teachers are very busy being a mentor can be very time consuming. However I believe that when teachers work together they will benefit the students and the teachers as well. All this being said I think that experienced teachers could benefit from newer teachers observing and making suggestions to their experienced colleges. As with anything in life we tend to get into a routine. It may not be a bad idea to get a fresh perspective on tried and true lesson plans.

Cynthia Lund
Cynthia Lund
3635 Activity Points

Mentors are essential, and I agree that experienced teachers can benefit from having new teachers in their classrooms. I love having student teachers in my room because I always learn something new that I can use with my students. Sometimes I am reminded of some thing new that I saw at a workshop but forgot about, so working with new teachers can be a two way street.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I love Sue’s perspective, “When mentoring is done well, it is very powerful. However, when mentoring is done poorly, it can actual work against keeping newer teachers in the classroom.” In this day and age, where more and more things are piled on our plates and nothing taken off, the time of both parties needs to be valued and respected. I try to make myself available to any teacher new or otherwise that needs help. In my building, I am the “technogeek.” Even though I am a teacher, I do everything from get equipment up and running, to find new technology and resources to help others engage their students effectively. I find when given the opportunity to collaborate with others, we all benefit and learn. As I read Elizabeth’s post, I felt my heart tug, “And I would hope that another teacher would have some time or interest to mentor me.” I think you will find most teachers are willing to help anyone who truly wants the help. I now wait until I am asked. Unfortunately I have been burned by others that have asked for help, then find myself treated poorly. I am frustrated when I give that person my best, and then find I have been lied to, talked about negatively, or taken advantage of. Just be honest with me. If you need my help for homework, then say so. Don’t tell me you want me to help you develop a lesson or unit, and I give you my input and loan you my personal equipment, only to have you turn on me. Give credit where credit is due. If a unit was developed jointly, cite me as a resource. If I’ve loaned you equipment, please take care of it and return it in at least as good shape as when I loaned it to you. Respect my library. Please, place the books or materials I’ve loaned you in your bag when you walk to your car and it’s raining. Brand new teachers are our future. Our students depend on you staying in the profession. We need your new eyes, ideas and perspectives. I love your new ideas and definitely envy your energy. Together we can instill greatness in our students.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
42985 Activity Points

Speaking from the standpoint of a new teacher I wish I had a mentor. I work in a very small school and this is my first year, most of the teachers have been there for several years and they help when they think of something or when I ask. There is no type of new teacher induction in the school and sometimes I feel lost. I currently teach biology I and II, physical science, physiology and chemistry. I am the only science teacher in the high school and I had to start at the very beginning with plans (since none was left from the previous teacher). Helping new teachers can be to the benefit of other teachers because once we get our bearings we will be able to help others. I would love to be able to sit in a well managed class and see how its done.

Donna Martin
Donna Martin
4025 Activity Points

The February 2012 edition of the HHMI bulletin features an excellent piece on in service training and professional development Most teachers receive far less training that then need - typically two paid days per year (national average) Recommendations related to mentoring include Model Effective Teaching Develop Teacher Leaders Get a Support System Let Teacher Help Teachers

Attachments

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68505 Activity Points

This is in response to Arlene's post dated Dec 15, 2010 with the following dilemma and discussion questions which are relevant to school systems in all countries. What advice do you have for Mr. Nelson as a mentor to a new science teacher? Though Mr Nelson has not mentored before, he can certainly use his own classroom experiences to discuss with the new science teacher. Perhaps he can observe the latter's teaching and facilitate. What resources can you suggest for Mr. Nelson as he begins working with this new science teacher? Though there are numerous resources such as books, best practices documented in ed research reports and so on, his own experience can serve to be the most useful. Thanks for bringing in your dilemma, Arlene, it can open up many avenues for mentoring and help Nelsons in many countries.

Guruprasad Panamalai
Panamalai R Guruprasad
625 Activity Points

Hi everyone, I think mentoring is important. It is however quite tolling on any teacher so I like professional learning circles better. Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) I prefer to say learning circles because it becomes more personalized. I feel there can be many circles within a learning community. PLC's allow support a community approach to mentoring, it shares the burden. When a group of teachers bond they create learning communities that transcend the day to day stress of going it alone. These individuals not only help along new teachers but allow veteran teachers to get up to date information in our industry. The veteran teachers see what the new and upcoming technology or books are, that they may have otherwise overlooked but for the new teachers input. The truth is, even principals need mentoring Hall. 2009) I believe having a PLC is a systematic and organizational tool which fills many gaps. PLC's is a space where teachers use blogs, skype, email and real time to communicate their triumphs and their fears. Within a PLC is the opportunity to learn and give back, in a caring and stress free environment. It is part of what we do here, but what about teachers who are un-familiar with our techniques; they too could use some PLC? Great Posts everyone! References Hall, P. (2009). An Open Letter to a New Principal. Principal, 88(4), 8-13. Chat soon! DW

Dinah Wright
Dinah Wright
410 Activity Points

This is in response to Arlene's post dated Dec 15, 2010 with the following dilemma and discussion questions which are relevant to school systems in all countries. What advice do you have for Mr. Nelson as a mentor to a new science teacher? Though Mr Nelson has not mentored before, he can certainly use his own classroom experiences to discuss with the new science teacher. Perhaps he can observe the latter's teaching and facilitate. What resources can you suggest for Mr. Nelson as he begins working with this new science teacher? Though there are numerous resources such as books, best practices documented in ed research reports and so on, his own experience can serve to be the most useful. [b] Thanks for bringing in your dilemma, Arlene, it can open up many avenues for mentoring and help Nelsons in many countries.[/b] Thank you for your response which I just looked this morning. I think new and veteran teachers have much to learn from each other. I have been working with eMentoring for Student Success for 5 years. The dilemma format was developed by them as a discussion topic. http://www.newteachercenter.org/services/emss'' target="_blank">http://www.newteachercenter.org/services/emss' target="_blank">http://www.newteachercenter.org/services/emss My best , Arlene

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

Hi Adah, As a pre- service teacher in Baltimore I understand we can be a pain and a bit of an annoyance especially at the beginning of the school year when you, yourself are trying to get into a class routine and get used to being back as well. Personally I have a learned a great deal from the 3 mentor teachers I have worked with. I will admit that not all experiences have been as positive as others. From my earliest memories of becoming a teacher I have had my heart set on first grade. After working with a wonderful first grade mentor teacher and class I realized I am truly interested in an older age group. The next semester when I signed up for fifth grade, I could tell my mentor teacher was annoyed to have a student teacher. She was snappy towards me and would not let me do anything with the kids. Even though I would solely observe, I could tell that was the age for me. Finally I was able to participate in a fifth grade classroom the following year and I loved it. My point is, a mentor teachers negative view is obvious to pre- service teachers and we would really just like to help, be involved and take it all in! Most pre- service teachers use this mentor system to realize if this is right for them and what a shame it would be if they made it into the classroom and realized it was not their dream. As a mentor teacher just being open is a big step in helping pre- service teachers. You never know you might even learn something new from them as I have had mentor teachers tell me I taught them as well. The website below has some tips on how to include pre- service teachers and how to transition into being a mentor teacher. You might find these helpful! http://www.inspiringteachers.com/mentor_teachers.html

Julianna Walsh
Julianna Walsh
2190 Activity Points

My point is, a mentor teachers negative view is obvious to pre- service teachers and we would really just like to help, be involved and take it all in! Most pre- service teachers use this mentor system to realize if this is right for them and what a shame it would be if they made it into the classroom and realized it was not their dream. As a mentor teacher just being open is a big step in helping pre- service teachers. You never know you might even learn something new from them as I have had mentor teachers tell me I taught them as well.

Julianna,

Thanks for this and the inspiration website. I learn so much from working with new teachers

Arlene

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42070 Activity Points

I am a young, aspiring teacher and hope to become one really soon. Even though I will be graduating, I hope to continue my education not only from the experience I will get as a teacher but through professional development and a mentor teacher. I don't have a negative view on mentor teachers or professional development. I recognize that I am entering a field for which I have greatly prepared and I also recognize that no amount of schooling can prepare you for the real life experience like the experience in itself. I am excited to listen and learn from what my future mentor teacher will have to offer and hope to apply what I like to my own classroom and maybe give lessons my own twist. In addition to this, I also hope that my mentor teacher will see my youth as an asset to encourage innovation and to listen to new ideas, mind-sets, and research. I think a mentor teacher will help me a lot but I hope my mentor teacher will allow me to teach him/her a lot too. I may be the newbie in this case, but it might give you an idea as to what you can inspire in me and what I can inspire in you. What is your mentality on new teachers and what do you think they can offer you? What do you think they bring to the table?

Ana Lucia Garza
Ana Lucia Garza
235 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers