We know that teachers need a support system, especially those in the beginning years of service. Research shows that there is a tremendous need for new teachers to receive the opportunity of mentoring in order to be successful in their work. Too often though, new teachers are faced with fear, or the perception that others cannot be trusted. They become apprehensive about reaching out to others to try new things. To counter this, I believe we can support new teachers through the challenging first years by providing them with a mentor. But how?
In my early blogging journey, I began to explore the notion of mentoring. I began to reflect on my work as an educator, trying to recall the people in my past who had mentored me and those I had mentored. While doing this, I came up with an acronym for my consultant practice that I call IMET: Inspire, Mentor, and Equip Teachers (to teach with soul). It summed up for me what I believe a true mentor does.
Mentoring matters. It matters, because it offers acceptance, guidance, instructional support, hope, and optimism to teachers—and particularly for new teachers. The act of mentoring is a part of the fabric of so many educational institutions. A mentor can provide the help—and hope—that can turn the tide of a difficult situation for a new teacher.
I believe strongly in the power of mentoring. I believe that this relationship is vital to the success of a new teacher. And new technologies have afforded us the opportunity to make a difference in how we use mentorship in the 21st century. The key, in my opinion, is to harness the power of social media that can provide connections to online mentors who are potentially accessible 24/7. If we can draw new teachers to the spaces where online mentorship is available, such as Twitter and Twitter chats (designed for their needs), that would be a great start.
Because...no new teacher should have to stick it out alone, ever.
Lisa Dabbs is an educational & social media consultant, author, blogger, and speaker. A former teacher and school principal, Lisa founded the New Teacher Chat #ntchat on Twitter in 2010. She is an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne, teaching pre-service teachers and supporting them to grow in their practice. Her first book was “Standing in the Gap: Empowering New Teachers Through Connected Resources,” and her second book with “hacks for new teachers” will be published in early 2017, alongside the Hack Learning Team.
The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.