How important are mentoring programs and mentors? A few studies from Tennessee and Chicago released this year offer evidence that good teaching can be passed down from mentor teacher to student teacher. Teachers who are effective were found to be promising mentors. Mentorship was also cited as a reason new teachers stayed in the profession in the state of Washington. The key message is that mentoring and the quality of the mentors matter.
KDSL Global had the opportunity to chat with Richard Lange to learn more about his thoughts on education and mentoring. Lange served as an education consultant to more than 30 districts in five states and Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore. His current professional positions include: Amundsen High School, Chicago, Professional Development Coordinator for new teachers and student teachers, National Louis University, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Adjunct Faculty & Student Teacher Supervisor, Northwestern University, Center for Talent Development, Teacher Supervisor, State Department of Education, Zurich, Switzerland, Education Policy Consultant, ASCD Mentoring Leadership and Recourse Network, Director since 1991, Illinois ASCD, Advocacy and Policy Committee Chairperson since 2003, and North Cook County Gifted Education Advisory Board, Board Member since 1985. He is one of three authors of A Life Saver for New Teachers: Mentoring Case Studies to Navigate the Initial Years. Below is what Lange had to say when posed three questions about mentoring programs.
What are some essential things to consider and implement in mentoring programs?
Given the changes in our teachers and teaching virtual mentoring should be available. In addition, have a set up that works and this should be dependent on the style of people involved. It is important to think about the resources you have and have an action plan for mentoring.
What are some of features which should be part of a mentoring program?
It is necessary for someone to be in charge of these programs. Ideal is to have a mentor director that is a third party who is able to probe and asks both the mentors and mentees questions. Roles and definitions need to be clear for the mentor and the mentee. When interviewing for jobs, new teachers need to ask about mentoring programs and if they have access to a mentor.
Does more training the trainers of mentor teacher leaders help?
In some cases, but I have found that millenials will seek information on their own, so it may prove that they need less support. Many teachers with five to six years of experience may not ask for support, so people have to pro-actively reach out to them.
Are you a new teacher? Do you have a mentor? Do you serve as a mentor to a teacher or group of teachers? For more information and resources, you can visit http://www.mentors.net/