Is there a new teacher mentoring program in your school? Would you like one? Watch the benefits of a new teacher mentoring program. Learn some teaching. The good mentor is accepting of the beginning teacher. At the foundation of any effective helping relationship is empathy. As Carl Rogers () pointed out. Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and A mentoring relationship develops over an extended period, during which a .. 9% of first-year students with planned majors in science and engineering.
Qualities of a Good Mentor During the past decade, I have helped school districts design mentor-based, entry-year programs. In that capacity, I have learned much by carefully listening to mentor and beginning teachers and by systematically observing what seems to work, and not to work, in formal mentoring programs.
As a result of these experiences, I have identified six basic but essential qualities of the good mentor and the implications the qualities have for entry-year program design and mentor teacher training.
The good mentor is committed to the role of mentoring. The good mentor is highly committed to the task of helping beginning teachers find success and gratification in their new work. Committed mentors show up for, and stay on, the job.
Committed mentors understand that persistence is as important in mentoring as it is in classroom teaching. Such commitment flows naturally from a resolute belief that mentors are capable of making a significant and positive impact on the life of another. This belief is not grounded in naive conceptions of what it means to be a mentor. Rather, it is anchored in the knowledge that mentoring can be a challenging endeavor requiring significant investments of time and energy.
What can be done to increase the odds that mentor teachers possess the commitment fundamental to delivering effective support? First, good programs require formal mentor training as a prerequisite to mentoring. Veteran teachers unwilling to participate in a quality training program are often indicating their lack of dedication to the role. Second, because it is unreasonable to expect a teacher to commit to a role that has not been clearly defined, the best mentoring programs provide specific descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of mentor teachers.
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Third, good mentoring programs require mentors to maintain simple logs or journals that document conferences and other professional development activities involving the mentor and mentee.
But such record-keeping devices should keep paperwork to a minimum and protect the confidentiality of the mentor-mentee relationship. Finally, although the majority of mentor teachers would do this important work without compensation, we must not overlook the relationship between compensation and commitment. Programs that provide mentors with a stipend, release time from extra duties, or additional opportunities for professional growth make important statements about the value of the work and its significance in the school community.
The good mentor is accepting of the beginning teacher. At the foundation of any effective helping relationship is empathy. As Carl Rogers pointed out, empathy means accepting another person without making judgments.
It means setting aside, at least temporarily, personal beliefs and values. The good mentor teacher recognizes the power of accepting the beginning teacher as a developing person and professional.
Accepting mentors do not judge or reject mentees as being poorly prepared, overconfident, naive, or defensive. Rather, should new teachers exhibit such characteristics, good mentors simply view these traits as challenges to overcome in their efforts to deliver meaningful support.
How can we encourage mentor teachers to be more accepting of new teachers? A training program that engages prospective mentors in reflecting on the qualities of effective helpers is an excellent place to begin. Reading and discussing passages from the works of Rogers and Combs, Avila, and Purkeyfor example, can raise levels of consciousness about this important attribute. Training exercises that cause mentors to thoughtfully revisit their own first years of teaching in light of such research-based and theoretical perspectives can help engender a more accepting disposition toward beginning teachers regardless of their age or prior life experiences.
The good mentor is skilled at providing instructional support.
Beginning teachers enter their careers with varying degrees of skill in instructional design and delivery. Good mentors are willing to coach beginning teachers to improve their performance wherever their skill level. Although this seems obvious, many mentor teachers stop short of providing quality instructional support. Among the factors contributing to this problem is a school culture that does not encourage teachers to observe one another in their classrooms.
I often ask mentors-in-training whether they could imagine helping someone improve a tennis serve or golf swing without seeing the athlete play and with only the person's description of what he or she thought was wrong.
The Good Mentor - Educational Leadership
Lacking opportunities for shared experience, mentors often limit instructional support to workroom conversations. Although such dialogue can be helpful, discussions based on shared experience are more powerful. Such shared experiences can take different forms: Regardless of the nature of the experience, the purpose is to promote collegial dialogue focused on enhancing teacher performance and student learning.
What can we do to prepare mentors to provide instructional support? The quality of instructional support that mentor teachers offer is largely influenced by the degree of value an entry-year program places on such support. The mentor training program should equip mentors with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions prerequisite to effective coaching. Such training helps mentors value description over interpretation in the coaching process; develop multiple methods of classroom observation; employ research-based frameworks as the basis for reflection; and refine their conferencing and feedback skills.
Finally, we need to give mentors and mentees time and opportunity to participate in the preconferences, classroom observations, and postconferences that lead to quality clinical support.
The good mentor is effective in different interpersonal contexts. All beginning teachers are not created equal, nor are all mentor teachers. This simple fact, when overlooked or ignored by a mentor teacher, often leads to relationship difficulties and diminished support for the beginning teacher. Good mentor teachers recognize that each mentoring relationship occurs in a unique, interpersonal context. Beginning teachers can display widely different attitudes toward the help offered by a mentor.
One year, a mentor may work with a beginning teacher hungry for advice and the next year be assigned a beginning teacher who reacts defensively to thoughtfully offered suggestions. Just as good teachers adjust their teaching behaviors and communications to meet the needs of individual students, good mentors adjust their mentoring communications to meet the needs of individual mentees.
To make such adjustments, good mentors must possess deep understanding of their own communication styles and a willingness to objectively observe the behavior of the mentee. How can we help mentors acquire such self-knowledge and adopt a positive disposition toward adjusting their mentoring behaviors?
Mentor training programs that engage mentors in completing and reflecting on self-inventories that provide insight into their leadership or supervisory styles are particularly helpful. You might have to increase the mentor-student distance.
Students, for their part, need to understand the professional pressures and time constraints faced by their mentors and not view them as merely a means-or impediment-to their goal. For many faculty, mentoring is not their primary responsibility; in fact, time spent with students can be time taken from their own research.
Students are obliged to recognize the multiple demands on a mentor's time. At the same time, effective mentoring need not always require large amounts of time.
An experienced, perceptive mentor can provide great help in just a few minutes by mak- Page 5 Share Cite Suggested Citation: This section seeks to describe the mentoring relationship by listing several aspects of good mentoring practice.
Mentors! 6 Tips for Connecting with New Teachers - PEBC
A good mentor is a good listener. Hear exactly what the student is trying to tell you-without first interpreting or judging. Pay attention to the "subtext" and undertones of the student's words, including tone, attitude, and body language. When you think you have understood a point, it might be helpful to repeat it to the student and ask whether you have understood correctly.
Through careful listening, you convey your empathy for the student and your understanding of a student's challenges. When a student feels this empathy, the way is open for clear communication and more-effective mentoring. The amount of attention that a mentor gives will vary widely. A student who is doing well might require only "check-ins" or brief meetings. Another student might have continuing difficulties and require several formal meetings a week; one or two students might occupy most of an adviser's mentoring time.
Try through regular contact-daily, if possible-to keep all your students on the "radar screen" to anticipate problems before they become serious. Don't assume that the only students who need help are those who ask for it.
Even a student who is doing well could need an occasional, serious conversation. One way to increase your awareness of important student issues and develop rapport is to work with student organizations and initiatives. This will also increase your accessibility to students. No mentor can know everything a given student might need to learn in order to succeed. Everyone benefits from multiple mentors of diverse talents, ages, and personalities. No one benefits when a mentor is too "possessive" of a student.Mentoring and Teacher Student Relationships
Page 6 Share Cite Suggested Citation: For example, if you are a faculty member advising a physics student who would like to work in the private sector, you might encourage him or her to find mentors in industry as well. A non-Hispanic faculty member advising a Hispanic student might form an advising team that includes a Hispanic faculty member in a related discipline.
Other appropriate mentors could include other students, more-advanced postdoctoral associates, and other faculty in the same or other fields. A good place to find additional mentors is in the disciplinary societies, where students can meet scientists, engineers, and students from their own or other institutions at different stages of development. Page 7 Share Cite Suggested Citation: For example, a group of mentors might be able to hire an outside speaker or consultant whom you could not afford on your own.
You can be a powerful ally for students by helping them build their network of contacts and potential mentors. Advise them to begin with you, other faculty acquaintances, and off-campus people met through jobs, internships, or chapter meetings of professional societies.
Building a professional network is a lifelong process that can be crucial in finding a satisfying position and career. Professional Ethics Be alert for ways to illustrate ethical issues and choices.
The earlier that students are exposed to the notion of scientific integrity, the better prepared they will be to deal with ethical questions that arise in their own work.
Discuss your policies on grades, conflicts of interest, authorship credits, and who goes to meetings. Use real-life questions to help the student understand what is meant by scientific misconduct: