A guide to working with mentees at your school site
Mentor Focus: December 1st - 20th:
Hello and Welcome to December!
December is always a busy month, personally and professionally, so thank you for your continued support of our new teachers during this time. I am including some important focus areas for the month - check out a few of the topics to hone in on with your mentee!
John Hays and I put together a video to discuss the question that we get asked most frequently in mentoring. Where is the line between mentoring and enabling a new teacher? It's a challenge, for sure, so I hope we helped to clarify this gray area a little more for you. Please remember, these videos are not professionally done so we are asking for a little grace!
We have hired/in the process of hiring a new round of teachers with December graduations for a January start date. We will have updates in next month's newsletter on the New Teacher Academy on February 4th and 5th. The courses are now available in ProGOE and new teachers who have not attended one are encouraged to attend. Teachers must register for each day separately.
Also, don't forget about the wellness event in January! Join your mentee for an evening that's all about you!
Thank you, again, for what you do. Any suggestions, thoughts, mentoring experiences you would like to share would be awesome. We love to hear from you! Have a wonderful winter break!
1. Personal: A.) Help new teachers be aware that conflicting priorities and possible concerns about money, family, and holiday arrangements are normal at this point. B.) Escort the new teachers to the staff holiday gatherings at school and escort or arrange for someone to escort them to staff-wide celebrations outside of school.
2. Professional: Remind your mentees to save receipts for tax purposes.
3. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Explain that the days before the winter break have the potential to be lost instructional time. Guide them in planning meaningful and engaging learning experiences while being mindful of the conflicting demands on student family time outside of school.
4. Organizational Systems: Discuss the dilemma of the piles of papers that have accumulated on shelves, in boxes, and on the edge of desks. Give the gift of plastic garbage bags and help the new teachers figure out what to throw away and what to file.
5. Students: A.) Advise your mentees that the holidays can be either joyful or stressful for students and that either emotion can negatively impact their focus on school and learning. B.) Instruct the new teachers to be sensitive to the religious and ethnic diversity of the students so that they will not make references to only the celebrations in which they participate. C.) Let new teachers know NOT to penalize students for decisions made by adult family members about school attendance. Help your new teacher navigate in this area.
6. Colleagues: Ask colleagues to assist in providing moral support to new teachers who are going through “the slump” and need personal and professional support.
7. School Systems: A.) Go over policies for holiday decorations, celebrations, and gifts. B.) Preview semester exam policies and procedures.
8. Parents and Community: Alert new teachers about the various religious holidays, rituals, and festivities, in which students, parents, and community members engage. New teachers from other areas of the country may well be unaware of all the significant religious observances that occur during this time period.
*Special Educators: Review systems for documenting student progress and assist in revision or refinement as necessary. Use student work to analyze actual student progress.
Breakdown and suggestions taken from Paula Rutherford's Just Ask Publications