Teacher Mentoring Program
What is Teacher Mentoring?
Mentoring is a nurturing process, in which a more skilled person, serving as a role model, teaches, sponsors, encourages, counsels, and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting the latter’s professional development. Mentoring functions are carried out within the context of an ongoing, caring relationship between the mentor and the mentee.
A Mentor is a skilled educator with at least seven years of professional experience. Research has shown that seven years is what it takes to begin to master all of the skills needed to be a successful educator. A mentor shares their skills and knowledge with a less experienced teacher.
A Mentee is a beginning or novice educator who is advised, trained, supported, or counseled by a mentor. A mentee is open to working closely with a mentor to develop and grow their skills, model best practices, and further their knowledge and understanding of the teaching profession.
Why a Teacher Mentoring Program?
Teaching is a highly rewarding career; however, it is also one of the more difficult career paths to follow. It involves learning and implementing new curricula, dealing with classroom management and discipline, integrating students with special needs, using technology, individualizing student programs, coordinating extracurricular activities and being accountable to the various stakeholders. These are just a few of the jobs teachers do. Teachers must also work to bridge language and cultural differences. Many of these duties are difficult for the most experienced professional. New teachers are expected to do the job of seasoned veterans their very first day in a classroom. While teaching is a rewarding profession, over 50% of new teachers leave the classroom within five years. It not only costs more money to hire new staff, but makes it more difficult to maintain program continuity.
How Does a Mentoring Program Work?
A mentoring program is done with purpose, structure and is holistic. There is a process for matching mentors and mentees, a schedule of meetings and activities are agreed upon, goals and outcomes are created, and growth is measured and celebrated. To be fully successful, the mentor and mentee must understand their roles and be committed to following the structure of the program.
Mentoring also requires more than just a commitment of time; money is also required. Mentors should be paid a stipend for their time commitment and expertise. Money is also needed to pay for the time and resources it takes to manage the program. However, the money spent on a mentoring program actually saves it in the long run. Supporting new teachers makes them feel more connected, makes them more confident and therefore less likely they will leave after a year or two.