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New Teacher Mentoring
Old 07-28-2012, 03:30 AM
 
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This year I will be heading our mentoring program at my school. I want to make the meetings as beneficial as possible. I will already be giving them all the inside info to how our school runs. These are bran spanking new teachers...straight out of college. I have two questions:

What information did you find most helpful as a new teacher?

What tips or advise do you wish someone would have given you as a new teacher?


Thanks for your input!


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Old 07-28-2012, 03:43 AM
 
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procedures for referring a child for testing- in my system all the recording and documentation was not explained and I wasted those first few weeks failing to document.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:08 AM
 
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Insight into what your administration looks for...for example, my principal wants to see active engagement strategies/formative assessments, vocabulary taught according to the district specific strategies, reading strategies in the content areas and constant monitoring of students.

Any school-wide strategies for problem solving, writing to a prompt, etc
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Mentoring
Old 07-28-2012, 05:13 AM
 
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We just had this discussion at lunch the other day! Here's what some of my colleagues and I came up with:

  • Honesty!! My mentor had a tell-it-like-it-is attitude and didn't sugarcoat anything. It really helped, because in college they teach you a lot of stuff based on the ideal situations, and that is not always the case!
  • How and when to make a referral for a struggling student
  • How to communicate with parents
  • Classroom management techniques
  • How much focus your school puts on high-stakes testing
  • How to call for help in a difficult situation
  • Appropriate interactions with students
  • Dress code expectations
  • Extra teacher duties - lunch, bus duty etc
  • Any "unwritten" rules of your school
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:32 AM
 
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What information did you find most helpful as a new teacher?
  • school's curriculum maps
  • My mentor walked me into each classroom of the school (this not only gave me an opportunity to meet everyone, but be inspired by other classrooms)
  • checklist of things to do (setting up your classrooms, procedures to plan, on the first day and week of school)


What tips or advise do you wish someone would have given you as a new teacher?
  • BE FLEXIBLE: a fire alarm or unexpected event can happen any time-accept it and be okay with things not going as planned
  • set up your classroom the night before always puts your mind at ease that night and the next morning, because you read over your plans and have everything you need-no scrambling around the next morning or waking up in the middle of the night realizing you need to buy a bag of cotton balls before 8am the next day


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Old 07-28-2012, 02:08 PM
 
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As a new teacher, I would have liked to know how important it is to document everything (parent contact, stuff kids say, promises from admin, etc, etc).

Also, the honesty one from a PP was good. I got my first job before I took my teacher classes to become highly certified and I could not believe all of the crap the professors were telling new teachers. No wonder so many leave the profession early. Classroom management courses are nice, but let them know that sometimes kids don't do what you tell them. Pick your battles. Is the lack of a belt really what you want to fight the kid on? (I teach high school and we have uniforms)

Let them know what your admin does and does not do. Don't sugarcoat it. If there are rules in the rule book that your admin ignore or don't pay attention to, let them know. The worst thing for a new teacher is to finally pick that battle with a kid and have the admin not back them up and they look ridiculous.

Flexibility was also good.

Let them know that some days will not be good, but give it 2-3 years before they decide it's not for them. I've seen new teachers leave in December, when the first year is such a learning process, they need a couple years to come into their own and see what works and what doesn't.

Good luck!
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New teachers
Old 07-28-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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Simple things like how to use the phone (checking voice mail, calling the office, calling other rooms, calling out, ect) and how to use the copy machine. At my school we only had two new teachers and we always had most of our bimonthly meetings at local restaurants. It was great to meet outside of school and make a social connection. The school footed the bill which was extra nice.
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Time
Old 07-28-2012, 04:15 PM
 
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I think having set times for new teacher/mentor meetings is huge! My district doesn't do that, it's just on an as needed basis and I hate it. My mentor never wants to give me her attention. Even when I ask, "Is this a good time?" She always says yes and the same if I set something up ahead of time. I think it would be nice to have 1 or 2 days a week where we could meet to go over things and talk about things where I have her undivided attention. Whenever I ask for help, she is always on her computer, grading papers, or we get interrupted by a cell phone call and she takes it and has a normal conversation with the person. It's very rude. I understand she is busy and that she has a life, too, and that I'm not the center of attention, but when someone needs help and needs your advice, it's nice to have that undivided attention! Her actions while I'm asking for help shows me she doesn't actually want to help and would rather do other things.
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New Teacher Info
Old 07-28-2012, 05:05 PM
 
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I agree with all of the things that the PPs suggested, plus one: acronyms! When I started at a new school a few years ago, I felt like everyone was speaking another language because of all the acronyms. At one of my first meetings, I remember hearing this sentence, "At this point, you would refer the student to SST, but only after going through RTI and discussing him/her with your PLC." After I'd been there a month, it made sense, but at that point all I could think was, "WTF?"
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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Thanks for all the responses! I've got a great list going


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Old 08-01-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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How you should dress on a casual day is a big one here... many of the newer teachers don't realize how to look professional and wear jeans at the same time

Also, talking with parents is another biggie!
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