At teacher of teachers programs at colleges and universities, there are mentoring programs for new teachers such as a student teacher mentor program. There are also teachers at school who mentor student teachers, and new teachers as well. Mentoring first year teachers is not an easy job, and it takes a special kind of teacher mentor to fill in the shoes.
Mentorship Training Before they begin their jobs, teacher mentors receive extensive training from teacher education programs. They need to be familiar with pertinent issues that face a new teacher and what to do if a pre-service teacher-student is experiencing a difficult year particularly with classroom management issues. They also need to work closely with the new teacher, using special strategies such as coaching sessions and reflective journal techniques for easing the new teacher into the classroom. They can then discuss these during their one-on-one sessions. In addition, teacher mentors need to be prepared to enter a classroom as a last resort if needed.
Teacher mentors need training in the interpersonal dynamics of this challenging job. Helping a new teacher feel confident with his/her authority as a classroom manager is a difficult job. Helping a new teacher who isn’t yet sure of how to prepare lessons for difficult lessons is another difficult job.
New Teacher Mentor Responsibilities
Mentoring a new teacher is a tricky job and many mentors, sadly, are overworked! In many scenarios, they are expected to be available to new teachers as often as possible, even during difficult times such as assessments and teaching their own classes. New teacher mentor responsibilities vary, but usually include:
- Discussing lesson plans and classroom management.
- Hold a meeting at the beginning of the year to discuss objectives and goals.
- Helping to orient new teachers to the school.-
- Organizing activities with other teachers.-
- Acting as an intermediary in conflicts between other teachers or with administrators.
- Helping new teachers with difficulties adjusting to a hectic school life.-
Contributions of Being a Teacher Mentor Many seasoned teachers are motivated to become teacher mentors because they enjoy helping new teachers adjust to a new system. Many of them know well the sink or survive syndrome. It feels great to know that they’ve helped a new teacher not quit after his or her first new year of teaching by giving her the important lessons of persistence and reflection.
As a teacher mentor acquires valuable mentoring experience, s/he learns important skills in counseling, time and conflict management, and leadership. There is a lot of respect involved, and even if the respect is not always there, teachers know and appreciate the value of mentors in assisting a new teacher.
A teacher mentor is a teacher first, but now one who is coaching preservice teachers. This can be the ticket for a new teacher’s survival in ways the mentor never thought possible.