What makes a good teacher mentor?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by waits5, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. waits5

    waits5 Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2018

    To continue the theme of a thread I started a few weeks ago, my colleagues and I were talking about how to support our new teachers. Some of us were considering getting involved with our new teacher induction program. I'm curious to hear feedback on this question on this forum: What makes a good teacher mentor? Thanks so much.
     
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  3. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Jul 27, 2018

    What a great idea! Your new teacher induction program will have a mutual benefit for both new and veteran teachers. Here are some of my thoughts to answer your question.

    A good mentor teacher is one who:
    • is skilled at using reflective questioning to help others with problem-solving
    • is knowledgeable of a variety of teaching methods and approaches and their application
    • can serve as an exemplary role model in the main aspects of being an effective teacher
    • relates well with other staff members, both classified and certificated
    • relates well with students, including those with special needs
    • has excellent communication skills
    • maintains a reasonable work schedule, at school and at home (part of being a good role model)
     
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  4. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Jul 27, 2018

    Has a wide range of pedagogy, has positive classroom and behaviour management and positive relationships with students. I also think the MT should be flexible to the ST, what priorities or needs does the ST have or need to work on. Finally the MT shouldn’t be swamped, because taking time to help the ST reflect and work together on things like lesson plans, classroom and behaviour management strategies, reflections on observations, require time and can’t be rushed.
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I think this is hard to answer because it really just depends on what the new teacher needs. I've had several new teammates over the years, but they've all been experienced teachers who were just new to our school so not the same as a total newbie. Just off the top of my head I would say:
    -I agree with not being judgmental. No one wants to take advice from a judgmental person or from someone they think might be gossiping behind their back, running to admin, or judging their ability to teach.
    -Make sure to tell the new teacher what they're doing right. My first mentor used to come in with a laundry list of compliments and then one, small concrete thing I could improve on. I really liked that.
    -Anticipate times or activities that might be difficult and offer support before the teacher asks. For example, even though the teachers I've mentored have been experienced, I know every district has weird rules for what they want in their IEP, so I offer to sit down with them and go through an IEP and outline the district expectations right away. Then I offer to look through their first one with them to make sure everything looks okay.
    -Check in frequently or set up a formal time to check in. Brand new teachers aren't always comfortable coming and asking for advice, because they don't want to get pegged as not knowing what they're doing.
    -Let them make their own mistakes and try out their own style. Unless it's something you know would get them in trouble with admin or something, I'd stick with, "That's not how I'd do it in my room, but it's good to find your own style. Let me know how it goes."
     
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  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  8. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2018

    I second this. I've had a few mentors (but only one "official" mentor), and all but my first were/have been great! My first "mentor teacher" was when I was student teaching...and she was basically doing it appearances sake. She was the type who always threw the faculty breakfasts and did the co-chair positions, and was trying to APPEAR to be a fantastic teacher. And I'm not saying she wasn't a good teacher, but she was NOT a great mentor to me. She was super judgemental towards me. Sometime she would down-right IGNORE me. One time, I just needed to know where a ruler was so I could do some kind of task. She was talking to a colleague (about NOTHING important-just socializing) and she saw me standing there waiting...and continued to talk for another 3 minutes!!! Finally, I had to interrupt to ask "Hey there, can you tell me where I can find a ruler?" She didn't want to be bothered with me. And she would under-mind me CONSTANTLY in front of the kids. I was so happy when I was done!

    My mentor now has been great! She talks to me like an equal and gives me examples of what she did to help me see what my stuff should look like (which helps a bunch). And we try to have weekly check-ins after school one day a week when possible.

    Basically, the mentor needs to be someone who understands that new teachers are going to make mistakes and who are going to need a LOT of guidance. They shouldn't be annoyed or judgemental of mistakes...and they should be doing it because they want to help. Not because they want to add it to their resume or PD reports.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I’ve been a mentor for many new teachers through our state internship program. No two have ever needed the same things. Being what they need is essential. Some just needed me be there to answer questions. Some needed help with classroom management. Some needed help managing the school environment. One needed a new career choice. One needed a different type of school.

    And best of all, I’ve always learned something from the new teachers, too.
     
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  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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