We’ve had a whirlwind three days — exchanging ideas, sharing concerns, learning strategies, asking questions.
A great activity today was having the mentors work in pairs in simulated conversations — roleplaying the mentor and new teacher, working through a new teacher challenge (like grading). The pairs of experienced teachers each played a part.
Afterwards, they shared their experiences.
The conversation had them remembering their own first year of teaching.
As mentors, they realized they were eager to help the new teacher “fix” the problem situation, sharing how they had dealt with the issue. But they realized their role as mentor isn’t to fix a situation or have the new teacher deal with the problem as they have. Through guided conversations, we are helping new teachers better analyze their situations and devise strategies to deal with those situations.
I see the mentors moving out of the driver’s seat as very successful classroom teachers, journalism advisers and problems solvers. The new teacher will be in the driver’s seat. Our goal is to get to know they, listen to them, hear them and help them structure their own teaching. But we don’t want to be backseat drivers. 🙂