Friday, October 25, 2013

Mentoring new teachers

Today, a first-year teacher is coming to watch me teach my middle school children.  Firstly, I am humbled that she thinks I can guide her.  Secondly, I hope I don't blow it!  :)  Thirdly, I am grateful that her principal sees the all-important value of new teachers watching experienced teachers.

It isn't the same as all of the times we watch teachers during our college education preparation programs.  It's different because this young teacher has been in the classroom for 10 weeks on her own....sinking or swimming.  She will see things differently now.  She will be ready to learn things about which she had no idea just 11 weeks ago.

I love watching other teachers, and about once a year, I take a sick day and go watch another middle school chorus teacher.  The experiences I've had have shaped my teaching tremendously.  I have learned so very much while watching teachers and talking to them.  I learn more than I ever do when I sit in a college class or a continuing education course listening to people who aren't in the classroom tell us how to teach while they share all of the latest research.

The research is important and valuable, but there is nothing like taking a day away from your school and watching someone who is on the front lines every single day.

Nothing.

It inspires.  I helps you create something new.  It makes you excited to get back into your classroom.

I long for the day when legislators will see the importance and the value of new teacher mentoring and support those programs with dollars...not just lip service.  All of us need to see what other people are doing in their classrooms.

Until then, I am grateful that this young lady's principal supports her enough to pay for her sub so she can have a day to go watch someone.  I am also thankful that my own colleagues are supporting me by covering a class so I can have some one-on-one time to talk with this new and excited teacher.

When the day comes that our legislator's truly support mentoring programs, there will be more young, excited teachers who will stay that way and remain in the teaching profession...and most importantly....our children will benefit tremendously.

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