Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 9/9.1.2
Support for New Teachers
By: Abilasha Aparajithan
Fresh out of college at 22 and being faced with a classroom filled with mostly 18 year old high school seniors can be daunting thought. What do I do if there is a fight? How do I deal with the very small age difference between me and my classroom full of students? What are they going to think? These and many other frightening and discouraging thoughts might run through a new teachers mind, but what can you do to ease the transition from college to your own classroom? One option is an implementation of a mentoring program for novice teachers.
What is mentoring and why implement it?
Mentoring defined by the Plano Independent School District can be said to be Ã¢ÂÂan exemplary veteran teacher that is selected by the campus administrator to work on a regular basis with one or more teachers not to the district having their major role be to support and guide the new teacherÃ¢ÂÂ (Ã¢ÂÂTeacher Mentor ProgramÃ¢ÂÂ 2004-2008). The Merriam-Webster online dictionaryÃ¢ÂÂs definition of a mentor is, Ã¢ÂÂa trusted counselor or guideÃ¢ÂÂ (Merriam-Webster, 2009). Generally a mentor could be referred to as someone who would be able to Ã¢ÂÂshow the ropesÃ¢ÂÂ to a novice teacher; especially someone who is fresh from college and has little or no experience. Most universities have a form of student-teaching requirement that needs to be completed before students would be able to earn their degrees. This only gives students a very sheltered and small amount of actually practice in teaching. Suddenly going from having the support of the original teacher you are student-teaching from completely disappear and be faced with a room full of students that expect you to know everything about your particular subject is extremely intimidating.
Another issue that has faced the education department is retention rate of new teachers. In an article from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, there was an issue of some schools having difficulty keeping new teachers from leaving after only five years of service to the school. It could be determined that with the overwhelming amount of pressure and the difficulty to make a smooth transition into professional teaching, new teachers found that they were not cut out for this field (Ã¢ÂÂMentoring New TeachersÃ¢ÂÂ,2009). With the guidance of a highly experienced teacher that could help the new teacher with any simple or challenging questions or concerns could have increased the retention rate.
What it takes to start a successful mentoring program
Many schools are beginning to take a proactive stance in attempting to implement new teacher mentoring programs. According to the New York State Education Department, there are a few aspects that need to be present to achieve a successful program. To have a successful program a school will need a few components.
(Guidelines for Implementing District - Based Teacher Mentoring Programs, 2007).
Teachers are some of the most important people students will ever meet. The life-long memories of that one special teacher whom that student had the most memorable and impacting experience with is something that many teachers aspire to be. Having a great level of communication skills and also the inept ability to make such a difference in a studentÃ¢ÂÂs life is not an easy task nor does it come naturally to many professionals. Practice might make perfect, but making sure that you are practicing in an efficient and correct way can be made into a better form of perfect with the right guidance. Think back to a time when you were learning to ride a bike, play around with make-up for the first time or even use a computer. Almost everyone can say that with any or all experiences they ventured to try for the first time, they had someone to help guide them in the right direction; no matter how many times you read a step-by-step instructional book, it might have seemed to be easier, faster and more fun to learn when someone showed you themselves. Now imagine a fresh from college teacher who is new to the school and has no one to help learn the ropes from. Although there are many faculty staff members around at all times, you can feel so alone! Although you took countless hours of courses in your university learning how to tackle problems in your classroom, it eases your nerves when someone who has more experience and a stable footing in the school you are starting out in helps you through the first few months. That is one of the main reasons a new teacher mentoring program can help new teachers not fear staring their first few years of teaching and also it can help the retention rate of these new teachers.
Multiple Choice Questions
1. What is a Mentor?
A.) Someone who has experience and can provide knowledge and guidance
B.) Someone who is learning how to develope their own way of teaching
C.) Someone who is supervises a school
D.) Someone who is paid to babysit students
2. Who can be considered as a Mentor?
A.) A newly graduated teacher
B.) A parent of the strongest student
C.) A teacher who has years of experience
D.) A college student doing their observation hours
3. From the text, why should mentoring be implemented?
A.) To fulfill requirements ordered by the president
B.) To increase the retention rate of new teachers
C.) So that mentors could get a pay bonus
D.) It shouldn't be, it is completely useless
4. What can be said to be a reason why new teachers leave the profession?
B.) Lack of support
C.) Inability to find ways of handling their class
D.) All of the above
Answers:1.(A) 2.(C) 3.(B) 4.(D)
Finest Quotes" (2009).http://www.finestquotes.com/select_quote-category-Mentoring-page-0.htm
"Guidelines for Implementing District - Based Teacher Mentoring Programs" New York State Education Department (2007). http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/resteachers/guidemenprog.htm
Ã¢ÂÂMentoring New TeachersÃ¢ÂÂ National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009). http://www.nctm.org/about/content.aspx?id=12376
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2009). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mentor
Ã¢ÂÂTeacher Mentor ProgramÃ¢ÂÂ Plano Independent School District. (2004-2008). http://www.pisd.edu/employment/mentor.program/index.shtml