What tips would you give to your mentor?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by who me, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. who me

    who me Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2010

    Next school year I'll be working as a mentor with a struggling teacher to try and bring her along and I'm wondering what others found to be most helpful that their mentors did. If you have any tips on what worked and what didn't I'd be so appreciative.
     
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  3. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Jun 5, 2010

    I once had a mentor who observed at taught along with me. She wasn't afraid to tell me the truth about my teaching. She offered plenty of honest feedback, and she would tell me what I needed to do to fix my teaching techniques. Her advice was so valuable to me! Sometimes the truth hurt, because it seemed like she ALWAYS had something to say at the end of the day about what I needed to do differently. But I hate to think of where I would be if she hadn't pushed me along to achieve things I never thought were possible. Don't be afraid to criticize. As long as it's constructive and you show the teacher that you care about her, she should appreciate the criticism. One other thing my mentor did. When she had an idea or advice, she would help me to achieve the goal. For example, if she thought the kids needed to do a certain project, she would help me by setting up the procedures or purchasing some of the supplies. By doing so, she showed me that she wasn't there to "boss" me around. She was there to work along with me.
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I really appreciated having a set day/time to meet every week to discuss things. It made it feel less like I had to come to her and interrupt her planning time with every question and more like she was there to help me. I also appreciated that she would ask my opinion about things going on in her classroom and I felt like she valued my advice. My science lessons were always pretty strong and the school was just beginning to really integrate science in kindergarten and she always asked what I was teaching and what resources I was using. My observing teacher took notes during my lessons with one column for what the kids were doing and one column for what I was doing and it was enlightening to see what was going on with the kids, how I reacted and what effect it had on them, helped my classroom management a lot.
     
  5. who me

    who me Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2010

    Thanks so much Loves the Beach and Tasha. Your replies are very helpful to me. I am a friend to this teacher so I'll have to remind myself not to be afaid to criticize, constructively of course. I will make a set time for us to meet. I know she won't come to me for help. I need to push her to open up and accept help. I was asked to help her the past couple of months but she seemed to want to close everyone out. She shut her door and always said everything was fine, yet, I have felt the opposite. I am glad to be asked to mentor her because I know she loves teaching is trying hard to improve but needs some assistance to show her how to get it all together. If you think of anything else or if others have ideas to share, I'll welcome all tips! Thaks again.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 5, 2010

    It doesn't sound as though she's exactly open to change.

    I wish you luck-- this may be tough. It's one thing helping someone who wants the help. Someone who closes out others may be a different story.
     
  7. who me

    who me Rookie

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    Yes, Alice, you called that right about it being a difficult role but I'm up for the challenge. My principal knows that, as well, but feels she'd respond to my suggestions. The teacher knows that she is very lucky to have been given a second chance to prove herself so hopefully she'll become more open about everything. This role is new to me and I don't have any resources or a structured program to follow so I'll do my best and pray my hardest that it all works out.
     
  8. HistoryMan79

    HistoryMan79 Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2010

    My mentors never did much for me besides signing the paperwork that was required by law and taking some of my paychecks. It was awesome.

    The best thing anyone did for me early on though was give me ALL of their work. I got a real idea of what others did and a lot of good ideas for projects and ways to approach work in my own class just by seeing what others did. I took what I liked best and tweaked it to my needs or used it as a template to create new work. That helped me more than anything I've ever gotten in college, student teaching, or mentoring. The easy thing for the other person though, it was all digital and they just put it on a cd, much easier then making tons of copies I'm sure.

    Don't be afraid to cough up work and examples. And I wouldn't be upset if they don't love all of it or do the work the same exact way you do.
     
  9. 2dogs3cats2kids

    2dogs3cats2kids Rookie

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    Jun 10, 2010

    I completely agree with the advice you are giving. I once spent 4 days in a classroom/grade level with which I had no experience. The other teacher walked me through the lesson, the set up, etc. She told me I was being too critical of myself; sometimes it IS the kids.....but I totally agree if you are being asked to mentor someone, they need the truth otherwise the teacher may only get part of what he/she needs.
     
  10. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    My mentor sometimes acted like she HAD to help me. Like it was a chore or something. I know she was getting paid for it and getting recertification points but....
    I don't know sometimes it was just like she was getting annoyed to help me. And now that school is almost out and she got her checks and her points she doesn't even bother to help or check in on me.
     
  11. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Jun 10, 2010

    Could you ask her to keep a journal of her thoughts and feelings about things? For example, if she taught a lesson, she could write down what she felt was going well and what she thought could be improved. This would give you a good start with reflection and setting goals.

    Good luck. Hopefully she'll realize you only want to help and she will open up.
     
  12. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jun 11, 2010

    Try to get her to come up with a problem. "How do you think the lesson went?" comes across as less critical. If she doesn't see the problem, then you can guide her towards it. But it's best if she comes up with it. That way, she's invested in the solving her problem.

    Also, make sure you don't overwhelm her with what needs fixing. One step, one solution at a time. Keep the admin appraised (with her permission) of the successes. It can only be a wonderful thing if everyone is celebrating steps. The admin. will be happy to see a willing teacher move in the right direction.
     
  13. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Jun 14, 2010

    have a focus for most if not all of your meetings. During my meetings with my mentor we spent the first 10 minutes discussing the week and charted this conversation out into "things that are working" and "things that I will work on". This was a good way to make short-term goals and check up on them for the next week. Then we would spend another 20 minutes or so going over our focus for that day. Sometimes our focus was technology, parent communication, time-management, etc. We would spend time discussing why it was important, tricks or techniques and sharing examples with each other. My mentor was really open to seeing what I was doing and sharing. She borrowed quite a few of my lessons and materials so it felt more like we were collaborating with each other. Another tip I might suggest is gathering examples of areas of weakness for her. For example, if her lesson plans are not well put together, see if you could get different formats that other teachers use (on here or in your building) and share those with her. Then, it's not as though you're presenting your way as the only method.

    Good luck!
     
  14. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jun 19, 2010

    I have two tips:

    1. Be around! I was frustrated quite a bit my first year because the first chance that I had to breathe during the day was after the kids had left... and by then, my mentor had run out the door! I always had a million questions after school, but she wasn't around.

    2. Plan together. I am not sure if your team plans together, but this is one thing that I absolutely love about my school. I have never seen collaboration work so well! We plan out our instructional calendar and assessments at the beginning of the year, but each week we meet to share lesson ideas. I love lessons on the smartboard, so I send out lessons and games that go along with the units. Another teacher loves hands-on manipulatives, so she brings those. Another teacher really likes finding trade books that go along with the topic, so she brings those. Another teacher still likes doing a lot of worksheets, so she brings copies of those. We share all of these materials with each other! We also meet another time each week to look over data and discuss remediation ideas. It's nice because everyone has their own teaching styles, but is still able to contribute to the group. We all keep these lessons, because even if they might not work for our group this year, they might work with another group of students.

    I feel that if you plan together and do some similar activities, it's easier to discuss what went wrong for each of you, so the focus wouldn't just be on what didn't work for her!
     
  15. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jun 30, 2010

    My school doesn't assign mentors, but I found one anyway. Or, it was more like she found me. She stopped in my room in August while I was preparing and asked me if there was anything she could do for me. She ended up laminating a whole pile of things for me. Since then she has checked in with me, offered resources and advice and I try to reciprocate. I think the most important thing she does is just asks what she can do! And I know what I tell her doesn't get blabbed around the school. She's safe. I would not have survived my first year without her!!
     
  16. Calandra21

    Calandra21 New Member

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    Jun 30, 2010

    A great mentor is someone who genuinely loves being an educator. Someone who is an excellent listener and gives not only constructive criticism but does so with how to improve, not just you need to improve this without any advice on how to do it. I had this wonderful, amazing, fellow teacher who took me under her wing without ever being asked to or being paid to and became my mentor. She was passionate about what she did as a teacher and was there for me everyday with advice, encouragement and truly helped me find my way. If you truly want to help not only children succeed but others as well then you will be an excellent mentor.
     
  17. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Jun 30, 2010

    I've already posted about my assigned "mentor" but I suppose I should add some comments about the self-chosen mentor.

    Like another poster, this teacher came to me in August as my mom and I were working on my room. She offered me books and materials from her years of teaching my grade. She also asked if their was anything she could do and assured me that she knew I was the right person for the job (she sat on the interview panel).

    Throughout the year she would stop in my room almost daily just to chat about anything and everything. She offered advice AND asked for my opinion on things. This let me know she saw me as an equal, not a burden.

    We've been out of school for almost a month and I just received a package 2 inches thick of old quizzes and supplemental materials for our reading program from 3rd grade. Clearly she didn't have to give them to me at all but to mail them to me in her free time... that says volumes.

    I think we should all strive to be mentors to someone regardless of whether or not we are assigned that role.
     

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