My Mentee wants to Quit

Discussion in 'General Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I just found out that the teacher I am mentoring wants to quit. Very unhappy, disappointed that teaching wasn't what they thought it would be. Moved here from out east-part of TFA.

    I don't know what to do. I'm technically not supposed to know (opened up to one of the administrators). Should I call and talk to them? They are pretty high-strung and serious, I'm afraid the day-to-day need for flexibility and order in their mind just doesn't fit with the world of education.

    I interviewed them-taught summer school in early childhood and didn't seem to have delusions that the kids were just cute and fun. Had very creative ideas in how to motivate them. The parents love him and the kids seem happy. This is the best class ever (I had them last year)-above average ability, extremely well-behaved and eager to please their teacher-not a typical class the 1st-year teachers get. I think it's in their mind that they are not doing well. Literally may turn in notice this weekend. If I do contact them do I say "don't quit"? My first turn at being a mentor...:(
     
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  3. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I think that as the mentor, you almost have a duty to talk to him. You could call him, pretending to do a check up, and see what he says, rather than specifically saying "I was told that..." I think that you need to know more. Why specifically does he want to quit? We all get overwhelmed our first year - you need to make sure that it's not being overwhelmed or his own feelings of inadequacy that are causing this, but a genuine dislike of teaching. If it's not the genuine dislike of teaching, then you need to encourage him to give it more of a chance. I don't think there are many teachers our there who don't have at least one moment their first year that they think they made a mistake by going in to teaching. Try to get him to break things down into more specifics. I don't really know about the TFA program and its preparation, but is it that a lack of pedagogical knowledge is bringing him down? Does he need help with things like classroom management and differentiation?I just think that it's really early in the year for him to make this call - like he hasn't really given teaching a chance.
     
  4. missk83

    missk83 Companion

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I would. You could aproach it as asking him how he's doing, and then he will probably open up to you.
    Last year was my first year, and I felt in over my head and lonely at times. Luckily, I had a very supportive mentor, who checked up on me frequently, and who let me know that it was quite alright I was feeling that way.
    I would let him know what you said here: that he's doing really well, he's very creative, and the parents love him. If his heart's not in it, it probably won't change his mind. But, if he's just overwhelmed and confused it might clarify things for him.
     
  5. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Since you are not supposed to know, it would be better to not let on that you do.

    Call your mentee and say that, since the two of you are not in school right now and more relaxed, does he have any questions or comments, need additional guidance with anything, that sort of thing.

    Be sure to mention to him what you have stated here -- that he is very creative, etc. If you can sneak it in without being too obvious, talk to him about the importance of being flexible, mentioning a time when you had to do just that. And let him know that he can depend on you to help mentor him through this tough year.
     
  6. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I agree that it would help to know more. It seems strange to me that someone would get THIS far and then realize that teaching wasn't for them...that usually happens during student teaching or classroom observation. I think you should call just to check up and he will probably let you know how he is feeling. It is very hard not to be overwhelmed that first year, and if he feels like teaching will be like this every year for the rest of his life, it may look like a long road ahead!
     
  7. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I would talk to him too. Also, has he or anyone at your school talked to people at the TFA office? They can offer support and a perspective that may help.
     
  8. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Could you say something like "I've noticed you haven't seemed as excited to be teaching the past few days, is everything okay?" That way you open the door to have him tell you his real issues. Poor guy, that must feel horrible. I hope he decides to stick it out.
     
  9. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Sep 5, 2009

    As a former mentee who felt completely overwhelmed my first year, I would welcome it if you as my mentor would call me and just ask how I was doing, etc., don't let on that you know all the info but be sincere in your interest and maybe if you say something along the lines that when I was in my first year I felt like this and that.

    This might help for your mentee to open up with you and not feel alone.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Call or arrange a coffee date/lunch with your mentee to review/debrief the first weeks of school...a 'how ya doing?' kind of meeting. Maybe she'll open up to you about her concerns...reassure her that all first year teachers (and many seasoned teachers!!;)) feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the year but that you are here for her. Ask what she needs to feel more confident/more comfortable.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Alright. I assume he is in 1st grade since you had these kids last year.


    Maybe upper elementary or middle/high school would be a fit if routine and structure things he needs. I would suggest telling him to observe a 4th/5th/6th grade classroom. Maybe that would be a better fit for him.
     
  12. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Great idea! It may just be that he's not teaching at the right level for himself. I know I couldn't deal with the little ones as well as others do, so maybe he needs to see if he's more suited to some of the older ones!
     
  13. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Sep 6, 2009

    We had a teacher go through this 4 years ago. She was crying every day after school. She tried to quit after the 1st couple of months. Said this wasn't what she wanted to be doing. The P and VP wouldn't let her quit. They supported her, her mentor supported her & lots of the other teachers supported her.

    I remember just popping into her room checking in with her, offering suggestions & guidance as needed.

    I think sometimes new teachers come in thinking that they know what to do & reality hits hard. For different people that I've mentored I think that it has helped them to realize that we all make mistakes, even seasoned teachers. That we all need to vent & need to ask for help at times.
     

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