Connect, share and rock being a mentor to a first year teacher. Here are 3 things I think are helpful to starting and creating a good working relationship when you mentor a first year teacher.
This question came from a reader:
What tips do you have for mentoring a first year teacher?
Today, I hope I can help get you started with what to do if you're mentoring a new teacher.
Are you in a position to mentor other teachers? In many schools today, teachers with years of experience can fill the role of mentor teacher to a first year teacher. If you're in the same grade level - great! If not, it can still totally work.
Mentor a First Year Teacher? You can do it!
Let me start off by saying good for you.
It can be a challenge to take on this additional role, though it can be a fulfilling one. I'm personally grateful for having someone to go to my first year knowing they wanted to see me succeed and were willing to share.
I know just by you reading this post that you're looking for ways to give your first year teacher mentee the best. They are in good hands.
Now - let's get to it!
First Things First
Let me help you coach them!
If the first year teacher teaches kindergarten - have him or her sign up for my 2 week back to school email bootcamp right away and allow me to share my best secrets and tips.
If you sign up too (or have already gone through it before) then you have good stuff for teachers new to kindergarten to talk about right off the bat.
I give my best tips on starting out the school year by hitting all the little stuff that matters most and how to use standards as your filter for what to teach in the long run.
Share Your Style
I recommend sharing your planning system (binder, etc.) so they can see a live example and make something similar if it fits their style.
Though keep in mind it may just not be a good fit for them. Which says nothing against yours.
You can show them my binder too.
Show them how you organize your filing cabinets or computer folders (if using a computer is a strength of yours) so they can think about how to organize everything they do/receive/download this first year to have access to it later on and next year.
Start the Conversation
Try to have open dialogue as much as possible about what they'd really like from you... so you can help where they want it most. Do this regularly if possible.
Be straightforward about best ways to communicate for you (email, chatting before/after school, etc.). When you mentor a first year teacher, you will be investing extra time.
This simple step can help you avoid adding too much extra to your plate time-wise.
This one may be a little uncomfortable to ask, but I think may be smart to ask something like...
"If I see you doing something that I think may be not in the best interest of your students, do you want me to say something to you about it?"
If you get a yes, then you can have permission to give unasked for advice when the situation warrants - otherwise - unasked for advice is just criticism. That can quickly damage a working relationship.
Of course you use that permission only with sensitive situations and that permission shouldn't be used lightly.
I hope those thoughts of mine can give you a starting place to work from as you generate your own list of what being a mentor teacher means to you.
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