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Tips for Mentoring New Teachers

Instructor: Brian Fraga
This lesson examines the role of the mentor. How will you provide support to a new teacher. What should new teachers know in order to have a successful first school year? We'll discuss some tips for success and why new teachers should be familiar with them.

Mentoring New Teachers

Have you ever been asked by your administrator to mentor a newly hired teacher? If so, you probably learned pretty quickly that it's not an easy task. A mentor needs a tremendous amount of additional time to advise and work with a new teacher and has to provide emotional support and encouragement throughout that teacher's journey.

To be selected to mentor another is a great honor. Your administrator recognizes that you not only put students first in your classroom but you also recognize the values of the school and continually seek to make improvements in your learning environment.

Maybe you caught the attention of your administrators by the way you manage the behavior of the students in your class and in the school. Another reason could be the way you challenge your students and use higher order thinking skills in your classroom. You must have a good understanding of the vision of the school and the teaching profession.

Before mentoring a new teacher, you'll want to reflect back on your first year. What were some of the questions you had before you stepped into the classroom? What questions arose as the year continued? What did you wish you had known, but never knew you didn't know? You'll be providing support and guidance to help the new teacher through this stressful time in his or her career.

Take a sense of pride in this new role. Know that how this individual performs will be a reflection not only of your teaching style but also any leadership potential that you may hold. Here are a few tips to give new teachers to help ease them into their first year of teaching:

Stay Out of the Teacher Workroom

First, stay out of the workroom. At the beginning of the year, this might feel like a great place to go to get away from the classroom. Teachers can be initially refreshed from the summer break and eager to challenge their students - that can quickly change as time goes on.

Teachers began to get worn down with grades, lessons, behavior problems, and more. That positive feeling turns into negativity and dread. The more a new teacher hears negative comments from others, the more depressed they can become. This isn't healthy, and to avoid these feelings, avoid hanging out in the workroom unless you need to make copies of worksheets or some such task.

Create a Behavior Management System

You'll want to help your mentee develop a behavior management system if you want their class to function smoothly and to be a positive learning environment. It doesn't require a lot of effort to create one.

Think about your classroom and what rules have worked for you. You'll want the new teacher to select four to five essential rules for how they want your classroom to operate. The main reason these systems fail for teachers, especially new teachers, is the lack of consistency when it comes to following the rules. Stay consistent!

Stay Organized

How do you stay organized? Do you write everything down on a desk calendar? Maybe you type things into an electronic calendar? What sorts of things do you keep tabs on?

As an established teacher and mentor, you have an idea as to what items the new teacher is going to want keep track of. It's easy for new teachers to get overwhelmed with additional work outside of the classroom.

Many schools require staff to volunteer to work two after school functions (i.e. prom, sporting event, etc.). There will also be after school meetings, such as parent-teacher-student association (PTSA) meetings, that they may be required to attend.

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