Professional Development

New Teachers Need Strong Mentors. Two Pros Offer Tips

By Elizabeth Heubeck — August 23, 2023 1 min read
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Teachers are most likely to quit within the first few years of entering the profession, a talent drain that hurts both individual students and entire schools. Robust mentorships in the first few years of an educator’s career can be the difference-maker between establishing a successful teaching career and having it slip away.

That’s why, as part of Education Week’s recent K-12 Essentials Forum, Start the School Year Strong: How K-12 Leaders Can Create Thriving Schools for Teachers and Staff, one session dove into the whys and hows of strong mentorships for early teachers. Joining us as panelists were Heather Puhl, one of three full-time mentors for the Caldwell County schools in North Carolina, and Lindsay Jonas, the coordinator of professional development for the Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators.

During a 45-minute dialogue, Puhl and Jones offered insights and tips for districts interested in launching or tweaking a meaningful mentorship experience for new teachers.
The two expert panelists covered the following elements for creating a supportive and successful new-teacher mentorship program:

  • Selecting mentors
  • Developing a personal relationship with mentees
  • Offering program choice
  • Providing nonevaluative feedback
  • Extending the mentor-mentee relationship beyond traditional roles
  • Celebrating successes
  • Shaping positive school culture through strong mentorship
  • Investing in mentees’ to strengthen retention rates

To watch the entire session, click on the video above.

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