Build the Relationship
Effective mentor teachers work to build relationships with their students, and with the new teachers they are mentoring as well. Meaningful relationships are built intentionally, and through shared experience. Here are six tips for building relationships with the new teacher you are mentoring.
1.) Share Your Story
Take the time to talk with the teacher you are mentoring about how and why you became a teacher. Discussing your philosophy of education and the ways that you know students learn best can be meaningful ways of getting to know one another. Invite your mentee to share their story with you. Knowing each other’s stories is a meaningful and powerful first step in building a relationship.
2.) Build Trust
During your early conversations, establish a relationship built on trust. Emphasize that your role as a mentor is to coach and support the new teacher. Remind them that effective teachers cultivate a growth mindset, and that all teachers engage in reflection and goal setting. Your role as a mentor is to support the growth of the new teacher. Emphasize that you are there to support the new teacher learn by celebrating their successes and reflecting on mistakes.
3.) Set Expectations
It’s important to be on the same page as you begin this close working relationship.
What can your mentee expect from you as a mentor? What do you expect from them? How often will you meet and for how long? What roles and responsibilities will the new teacher have in your classroom and how will they evolve throughout the year? Communicating expectations at the beginning of the school year lays the groundwork for successful co-teaching relationships.
Relationships can be built through shared work. Teachers engage in a variety of projects at the beginning of the year, from setting up the classroom to making home visits to planning for the year. Engaging in this work together helps you to build a relationship through shared experience.
5.) Be Transparent
As an experienced teacher you might have processes or systems that are built into your practice. As part of sharing that practice with a new teacher, explain why you do what you do, and how you’ve built your knowledge and understanding over time. By explaining what’s happening behind the scenes, mentor teachers.
6.) Share your goals
Effective teachers are lifelong learners. Share your professional goals, and discuss the ways in which you reflect upon and refine your own practice. Model growing your own practice as way to inspire new teachers to do the same. A mentor is not a perfect teacher; a mentor is a real teacher who reflects on practice and seeks growth opportunities. Modeling this growth mindset will encourage your mentee to do the same.
Relationship building takes time, energy, honesty and intention. Effective mentors invest in developing and nurturing relationships early on in order to make their mentoring meaningful and successful throughout the school year. Based on this solid foundation, highly skilled mentors can support and inspire new teachers to truly be the best they can be.
PEBC believes that supporting leaders and mentors is imperative to cultivating a system of continuous learners. Watch for more blogs and upcoming offerings that support the practice of leading.
Learn More at an Upcoming Institute
Minds on Math Institute
In this institute, you will learn how to address all eight of the common core standards for mathematical practice within workshop model instruction.
March 7-8, 2017
Explore how explicit thinking strategy instruction can promote sutdents mathematical understanding while preparing them with problem-soliving skills they can apply on standardized assessments and real world situations that require them to think as mathematicians.