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Mentoring new staff

April 11, 2006

How many schools make full use of their existing talent to nurture the new?

Hello again,
The newly appointed teacher has a steep learning curve: new colleagues, new students, new systems, new materials, perhaps even a new country. It’s a lot to deal with and the rookie teacher might feel inhibited about asking older hands for help and advice. By implementing a mentoring system the school could make a significant difference to the new teacher’s induction period, and the experienced teacher who becomes mentor will also be taking a useful step in professional development. Mentoring is used widely in universities ...

... and has delivered real benefits to new appointees. The mentoring relationship is different from "managing" because the mentor is not responsible for the “mentee’s” performance. The mentor is an experienced and knowledgeable colleague who acts as friend, coach, tutor, counsellor, confidant, observer, and role model. Although mentoring may be seen as an informal activity, the people who become mentors should have a clear idea of their role.

They need to be good listeners and able to elicit information so as to understand the mentee’s concerns; they should give constructive feedback and suggestions when asked. They should make time available to show the mentee the building, the equipment and the materials and explain how all these are used. They should help the mentee relate to others in the school and explain how to deal with any administrative duties. Where teaching is concerned they should offer support through observing lessons, allowing the mentee to observe other teachers and helping with the choice and preparation of material. It is important for the mentor to understand their boundaries here. They are in place to help and support, not to judge.

The mentor should also help the new recruit deal with any cultural issues and make sure that the teacher is getting appropriate practical help with such matters as accommodation, banking, travel, diet, healthcare and fruitful use of leisure time.

The relationship is a delicate one, however, and it is important for both parties to have a defined procedure for ending the mentoring if it is not working. The mentor might find it difficult to restrain criticism of the new teacher’s performance; the teacher may not feel able to trust the mentor’s confidentiality or the teacher might feel the mentor is grudging in giving the time needed. However, if a proper framework for mentoring exists, it can be of great benefit to the new teacher and will allow the mentor to develop new skills.

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Comments

  1. EFL Geek Says:

    I just wrote something myself, though for some reason the trackback didn't work. Anyhow my entry is titled Mentors

  1. leo Says:

    The teacher is annoyed ____Tom,because Tom is not polite to him.

    at or with?

    and why ????

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