Does your school have a new teacher mentorship program? Is it a formal plan that includes regular meetings and goals? Is it an informal “here’s your mentor” type of process in which you’re expected to work out your own schedule? Or are new teachers given their keys to the classroom and a pat on the back for encouragement? Michigan, like most states, hosts a vast spectrum of new teacher mentorship programs, ranging from full engagement to near neglect. Having taught in three different public school systems, I’ve had first hand experience of what a difference a formal new teacher support plan can provide for teachers who need regular guidance, support, or just a sympathetic ear to bounce ideas off.
As we look to support new teachers, or better prepare pre-service teachers, we wanted an opportunity for the community to share what they find valuable, and how they’re supporting new teachers in their own buildings and districts. Being in a position within my district to create a supportive environment, I must say it feels daunting. How do I help change the culture of over 260 certified teaching staff by supporting just a few new teachers at a time? Perhaps I’ll have to take some advice from the chat, and reach out for support from other agencies and schools to offer better support within my district. Special thanks to Jeff Bush, one of the #michED chat co-founders, for hosting this chat and reminding us that the work of supporting and building up new teachers is never over, and we should constantly ask ourselves “are we doing enough?”
If you have trouble viewing the archive of the chat, you can view the entire Storify archive here.