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Mentoring New Teachers

Compiled By: shapingminds

Have you been asked to mentor a new teacher? What do you do? What do new teachers need to know? Here's some tips that may help you. Some tips repeat but new ideas are also found among the posts. Good luck with this rewarding challenge!!

Posted by: Helen

Our mentor teachers must be trained and certified.
We get paid a small stipend for the first two years we are mentoring an ILP.
First, we are responsible for greeting the new teacher, showing them around the school, introducing them to faculty and staff, where supplies are kept, how to requisition them, where the textbooks are stored and how to get them, being sure that they have what they need (copy of the curriculum they are expected to teach etc.),offer to plan together if you are the same grade level etc. or to help them with their plans...we are expected to observe their classes occassionally and to listen to their vents, problems etc. We do not necessarily tell them that they are doing something wrong (teaching) but use questions to bring them to evaluate their own presentation, We are expected to help them to get their product ready (NC requires a portfolio at the end of the second year)and their videos.
We are to help them to get assistance if we do not know the answers to their questions...
I could go on, but that is our state's set up. Our ILP's go through very much what more experienced teachers do when they do National Boards!
Hope this does not scare you.....maybe your principal/system has something quite different in mind....Just ask for clarification/guidelines!

Posted by: Jennie

The best advice I can give you on working with your new mentee is to give her information about things you may take for granted. For example, does she know where the faculty restroom is? Can she work the copier? Does she know where the teacher supply room is located? If you don't have a supply room, how does she get needed supplies? Who does she call if she needs to be absent (for substitutes)? Get a copy of your school handbook for her and go over school policies with her. Also, get one of last year's yearbooks for her and let her look at pictures of the kids who will be in her class. This will be a great way for her to see faculty members' faces also. I have found that when mentoring it is often the little things that count. Make her a "goody" basket for those first hectic days of school. (aspirin, novelty notes, candy bars, gum, pencils, pens, other teacher items) Even giving her some ideas of a good theme to use in her classroom would be wonderful. Or help her arrange her student desks. Just knowing she has someone to talk to and who will be understanding will be great. Think back to when you were in her shoes. What did you need?

Hope this helps!

Posted by: sandy

One thing my mentor did for me (and I have tried to do for others when I mentored) was very helpful. Whenever you are dealing with office paperwork, setting up your grade book, ordering, planning a field trip, preparing for report cards, etc. just stop by her room and say, "I was just going to set up my grade book (or whatever) and I was wondering if you needed help with that or would like to see mine?" You might ask her how she's going to do something or if she's thought about how she'll handle something to give her a chance to think and talk through some issues with you. The problem is we get so busy in our classrooms that we don't think of all of the new things that keep bombarding a new teacher. Just as you set up your own classroom or prepare lesson plans, etc. take a look and see if there's something there your mentee could benefit from. Good luck! (I was a mentor my 2nd year...if I could do it, you surely can!)

Posted by: ABC123

Mentoring has nothing to do with handing over all your lessons/units! They are trying to take advantage of you. Mentoring is showing them around, sharing ideas, and giving helpful advice (being a support person). You might pop into their room time to time to see how things are going. It should not be give me, give me, give me! Are you in the same grade level? If so, do you plan together? This should be the time to see who wants to do what, and what materials are needed. If you are in different grade levels, then they shouldn't be coming to you about giving them your stuff. Surely they weren't telling you they need you to run off copies of the worksheet (maybe just borrowing the original to make their own??) If you are different grade levels, take time when you have a minute or two to pop in and see how things are going. They in turn may need to pop into your room (when you are NOT teaching)if they need to discuss something. But like I said before, you are not there to give, give, give every little thing they want. They need to develop their own lesson plans/units(especially if this is for evaluation purposes). If this is the case, then they are taking advantage! You might, nicely, tell them they have misunderstood about mentoring and set the record straight!

Good Luck!

Connect with one mentor teacher
Posted by: Suz

I found it very helpful to have a mentor teacher. We did almost of all our communicating through e-mail. My district very spead out so she was actually at another school.

I appreciated her advice on how to prep for standardized test, Parent teacher conferences even how to organize my lessons and other important info in a big three ring binder. We were teaching the same grade so she also sent unit and lesson ideas that worked for her.
It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas of of.
A couple of things I wish she could have helped me with
*passwords to get unlock classroom phones--couldn't get messages for the first quarter.
*school security systems--I did set the alarm off my first weekend working
*I wish that she would have been able to show me how to use the on line report card one on one before school started.

Mentor teacher
Posted by: Kris

I was also a mentor this past year and I found that meeting once a week was greatly beneficial! We would meet to plan, discuss problems and ideas. We always met on the same day right after school-easier to remember that way. It was a great experience! I really enjoyed working together and sharing ideas. I went at it from the angle of a collaborator, and that really worked.

my mentor
Posted by: phoebe611

I was in a strange situation last year. I was new to public school, but had more years of teaching experience than my mentor. So, because of that I think my mentor was hesitant to mentor to me.

What I needed was help on public school life and that district's procedures rather than help wih teaching in general. So, from my experience, Just BE THERE!!! Be an ear for her; a sounding board; a friend. That means the most anyway since all the rest will come with time. Oh, one thing that was REALLY wonderful for me in my last job (private school). We had team or teaching partners. One teacher taught 3 subjects, the other teacher taught the other 3. Anyway, my first day of school there my "mentor" partner teacher had a goodie bag of stickers, post-its, chocolate, etc., and I have never forgotten how special that made me feel - and that was years ago. Do something small, but special to make her feel welcome.

You are very kind to be thinking of her and helping out! Good luck to you both! :s)

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I'm so glad you asked!
Posted by: Jamie

I am a new teacher this year, and I have been hoping that someone would ask the questions you posed! It has been extremely frustrating to try to figure all this new stuff out on my own. As a new teacher, I would have liked a packet of info that led me through the preparations necessary for beginning the year. For example, I was not made aware of the need to post a student supply list. I also would have liked help with ordering supplies and a mentor supplied BEFORE school started to help me sort through curriculum and to help me sort through district policies and requirements.
Now that I have made it through the first week, my biggest questions lie in the areas of curriculum and record keeping. I would like my mentor to plan with me for the first several weeks so that I know my lessons are on the right track and that I am accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. Assessment help and a modeling of record keeping would also make the first several weeks less stressful.
I have had to force myself to continue to search for answers to my thousands of questions, but it gets frustrating when I never find a real answer. It would really help if my mentor would be more vigilant in sticking with me through a problem until I have the answers I need and my curriculum is all in order.
I'm sure most new teachers would agree that one of the most difficult parts of beginning the year is not knowing. If I were setting up a staff support system for incoming teachers in my district, I would stress the need for school and district information to be compiled and accessible IN ADVANCE, that curriculum was made available to new teachers and placed in the classroom well before school began and that mentor teachers were paired with new teachers before the year began with the expectation that supplies, curriculum, standards, room setup, planning, grading, testing, etc. be discussed until the incoming teacher felt comfortable. I realize I'm going on and on, so I'll finish up, but I hope this gives you some ideas as to the needs of new teachers. And THANK YOU for asking!

Mentor book
Posted by: Kimberly

Great idea. I did a mini-one for several new teachers we got in the same year.

Who do you ask when you need... supplies, a custodian, help with something.

Lunch count, going to lunch, what if a child forgets his lunch procedures

Setting up and maintaining a gradebook

Dismissal procedures


Lesson plan helps

Making copies--can you make your own, do you turn it in to someone? etc..

Getting supplies needed

Field trips

Creating a substitute folder and what to include in it

What you can and cannot say to a parent

Retention procedures

Where to go if you have questions about any of the contents of the book

Class parties (our school has to all do the exact same thing at the same time)

The gradebook was a big deal for our new teachers. We are only allowed to write in black and they were writing in all colors!

A lot of these things are addressed in our handbook, but for some reason, new teachers are more likely to read this book than the handbook.