Mentors and Teachers Come Together to Help Students Thrive
By Andrea Peters, Teacher Resources Specialist Trainer, Full Release Mentor, Polk County, Florida
I have always looked for a role in education where I could impact students in the best possible way. Mentoring is this role. Yet, surprisingly, mentoring doesn’t come naturally. Over 90 percent of a teacher’s day is spent engaging with students in the classroom. A mentor’s primary role, on the other hand, is to interact with adults and other professionals. Yet, these two roles – that of a mentor and that of a teacher – come together under the sole purpose of helping others (educators and, thereby, students) thrive and succeed.
Traditionally, mentoring could easily be categorized by occasional coffee meet ups with teachers often unloading their classroom trials to their assigned mentor. NTC has examined and restructured this meet up and provided the training and tools to take mentoring from empathetic encouragement to effective feedback and insights. The high-leverage tools (Planning Conversation Guide, Analyzing Student Learning, and the Observation Cycle) allow mentors to really help teachers grow their craft. With a framework that creates a clear focus for the teachers to analyze and reflect on their instructional practice, teachers receive feedback and guidance that they can take back to their classroom and put into practice. These tools have changed the type of conversations we have as colleagues and mentors. No longer do we meet to solely discuss the challenges. We’re now armed with the tools to develop practical, catered solutions that better our instructional practice.
In my short time working with NTC, I have had invaluable training, support, and in-field coaching to help me develop my mentoring skills. The in-field coaching is a training tool that is constructive and helps mentors continue to grow and develop.
As a mentor, I have seen changes in classroom management, student engagement, and rigor of lessons among those I mentor. Ultimately all of these have a positive impact on student learning. Seeing new teachers feel confident when it comes time for their formal evaluation with their administration is priceless.