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CalculusGal77
 
 
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Boundaries with New Teacher
Old 05-06-2020, 12:30 PM
 
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Hello all! My principal has hired a brand new teacher out of college for next school year. He has asked me to act as a mentor to the teacher, but Iím not sure what kind of boundaries should be in place. Iíve had an issue with a teacher that taught with me for 3 years before being let go. She asked for help her first year. I and others helped her but she was very apathetic and negative. She never took responsibility for her own classroom. Instead she was constantly begging others for material. In the three years she taught things only got worse and she was eventually let go. I hate to project this same attitude on this new teacher, but I am worried about boundaries. How much should I help a new teacher? Is someone asking for my own work and lesson plans too much? I felt used before. I really donít want to go through that again. It isnít collaboration when itís all give and no take. Can you guys help?


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Old 05-06-2020, 03:52 PM
 
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I'd ask my principal what his expectations are, mentor-wise. It might be, help explain new processes as they come, such as report cards. If it's help with planning, do you already work as a grade level team together for that? I agree it should be give and take. Why not start by asking her what she feels her skillset is. Maybe she's great at tech, loves science experiments, etc. I'd encourage you to assume good intent from her, and let her prove herself to you one way or the other, as she is a different person...all while you set whatever boundaries are comfortable for you. And, if she needs remediation, that should really fall to your principal.
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What's worked for me
Old 05-06-2020, 04:42 PM
 
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I have mentored many teachers in my career. What works best for me is to remember that the mentee is a professional. I offer guidance, but always let the new teacher know that they can make their own decisions (on things that are at teacher discretion). I check in at least twice a week, offering to be a sounding board or to answer any questions. If I see someone who seems to be struggling, I offer concrete help for the situation at hand.

I will say my experience has been almost completely positive. The young teachers we've hired are great. The only bad experience was with a veteran teacher new to the district. She ended up being very dependent, needy, and ended up taking materials out of my classroom to her home. I found out when I needed it, asked her if she'd seen it and she blithely let me know it was at home on her dining room table. The worst thing though was showing up at my home one night. I ended up loading my kids up so I could drive her to her mom's house 45 minutes away. She was let go a few years after joining our district.
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mentor
Old 05-06-2020, 08:41 PM
 
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I'd ask your principal what is expected. Our district had (I'm no longer teaching, but I assume they still do) an official mentorship program with expectations of what the mentor and mentee would do. We were supposed to meet 2x a month the first year and there were certain things my mentor had to teach me--specific programs, report cards, etc.

My mentor was amazing. I also was not needy and was inclined to do my own thing. However, for content (specifically science and social studies), she'd just hand me her folder of materials and a quick bullet listing of what she typically covered and tell me to copy what I felt like using. Some units I used most of it, some units I didn't use much. One of the other teachers on my grade was very math focused and she told me to feel free to go into her classroom and look through her math files or grab her math reproducible books and copy what I wanted.

But, I also quickly became the tech expert on our grade and made many things for use with the tech devices we had.

So while there are definitely mentees or first year teachers who are very needy, there are plenty who are not! But if you talk to your principal about your school or district's expectations, you should have an idea of what you should do and what you don't have to do. First year I'd anticipate a lot of sharing, particularly if she/he wasn't student teaching in the grade you are in.
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Ugh
Old 05-07-2020, 03:37 AM
 
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I can't tell whether this is something you want to do or not. If it is not of interest, I would tell your principal that you appreciate him asking you to be a mentor, but it is not a good time for you to do so.


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Old 05-07-2020, 06:22 AM
 
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It is hard to be a mentor!
It is hard to be a new teacher!

If she's new out of college, she will need a lot of help, not only with teaching, confidence, district procedures, but with lesson plans, parent interaction, school routines, and student discipline.

I think her age , work ethic, and level of maturity will play into the ability to teach and work with others.

It would not be fair to automatically assume that she will be like the previous teacher that you described before giving her a chance.

If you agree to take her, you are obligated to follow the mentor guidelines as far as meetings (document them and have her sign off on things discussed each time you meet).

My district/ school requires that we all "are on the same page" as far as lesson plans, materials used, etc. so, sad to say, we can't really incorporate any of our own lessons or materials. The administration checks on our plans weekly. There's really no hoarding/stealing ideas, or plans.

I've had many student teachers and have been a mentor to many new teachers. Some have been sincere in wanting to teach and some have been exactly like you described in your post.

When taking on the responsibility of being that mentor, sad to say, we have to take what we get. Some experiences will be great, and it's so rewarding to see them "take off and fly", knowing we've helped to add another dedicated person to the profession. Some will be a nightmare, and leave us with a whole year of a mentor nightmare. We never know.

If you mentor the new teacher, give him/her a chance.....be there for the person... they are human and have feelings. Make sure you have meetings. Prepare a general form where you can document, in bullets, areas that are discussed each meeting , topics that the new teacher asked you about. Both of you need to sign off on the paper at the end of the meeting. You then will have documentation of proof you did indeed mentor, any problems discussed if the new teacher was not pulling their load, concerns the teacher asked for help with.... all of this.

Those meetings can be a positive mental booster in confidence for a new teacher, and also can be proof that you didn't leave them in the dark if they are having problems with their evaluations-can't complain that you didn't mentor. It also lets them know that this is a serious profession, not just a job where a teacher leaves everyday right after the kids leave/get summers off!

I understand your worries about what type of person you might get. I could write a book about some of the student teachers and new teachers that I've had to mentor. I would completely understand if you declined to mentor!

I need to add that if we have been a mentor to a student teacher/new teacher, we are remembered for life. Be professional, be kind and pass on the good qualities needed in teachers today. Be a good example, so that when it is their turn to mentor, they can do the same!

Last edited by LazyLake; 05-08-2020 at 03:04 AM.. Reason: Spelling
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Being the mentor
Old 05-07-2020, 08:50 AM
 
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Goodness, it sounds as if you were really burned by the previous person. Remember that the new person may not be the same. Go in with an open mind and ask them to share their ideas. I have found that I learn quite a bit from the new teachers. Their energy can be addictive.

As for sharing, maybe start off sharing some things and then ask them to lend some ideas, share the load of planning....whatever you need. How would you want someone to mentor you? Keep that in mind as you do this next year. Try to build a good working relationship with the new person. If it looks like it's going down a bad road, let that person and admin know as soon as possible to avoid a rough situation.
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Sometimes the problem in the mentor
Old 05-07-2020, 08:59 AM
 
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Quote:
How would you want someone to mentor you? Keep that in mind as you do this next year.

32 years ago, I wish I had had a mentor. I had a mentor in name only...when I asked her a question at the beginning of the year she said, "You should know that."

After that, I sought out help from other experienced teachers who were so kind and generous with their time and advice. I try to remember that when helping a new teacher.

Sometimes, it's the mentor that's the problem,not the mentee.
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