Each year that I mentor either a student teacher/intern or a new to the profession teacher, I always reflect on how I could make the experience better for both of us. Mentoring takes time and intentional planning to make it more than a required activity. There have been times that I felt I did a really good job with my interns and student teachers, but I haven’t felt as satisfied with new teachers. I often blamed a lack of building or district focus on what mentoring should entail, but in the end, that was just an excuse to make me feel better about how the experience went. This year my district made great strides in how they approached the mentoring experience. Even better, at the end of the year they gathered a group of mentors and mentees to evaluate and tweak the program. Love that reflective nature!
Yet, this is not enough for me. In order to change the situation, I need to first change how I’m going to approach mentoring this year. And yes, I’ve got a plan.
I’m going to flip the mentoring experience. This will not replace our face to face meetings. After all, these meetings are where you build relationships and get a true gauge for how your mentee is doing. What I’m talking about are the things that you’d like them to reflect upon, or look into prior to meeting. With my students we call this coming to a discussion prepared. So, this summer I will be planning my list of topics to flip. I’ll also be asking my mentee to also think upon what needs she has. While I know our new teachers are quite capable of finding information on their own, this is one way in which I can lessen the work load that first year. If I already have information on a topic, then I’m happy to share. Or, maybe my mentee is interested in something I haven’t yet heard about and now we get to learn about something new together. Definitely a win-win.
I plan to use my blog as the medium for delivering the flipped mentoring experience. It will include topic information, links to books and videos, and I am thinking of including a video in which I can either talk directly to my mentee (adding that personal touch), or walk her through the websites that I share. I’m sure that as I go, I will tweak the format as I learn from my mistakes and get feedback from my mentee.
So as I look to planning my Mentoring in Minutes (Yep, that’s what I will call my blog posts) posts, I will consult the district suggested list as well as topics I feel would benefit my mentee. Below is my list so far. What would you add?
Mentoring in Minutes Topics
- Parent Information Night
- Communicating with Families
- Using an Online Planbook
- Creating a Sub Tub
- Websites to Help With Differentiation
- Google Drive/Classroom
- Favorite Professional Books
- Connect with Twitter/Growing Your PLN
- Guided Math
- Number Talks
- Calendar Math
- Guided Reading
- Writer’s Workshop
- Cooperative Learning
- Classroom Management
- Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest