Educators Need To Develop Mentoring Relationships

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Educators must exercise a higher duty of care than most professionals. They face exposure to liability much greater than does the average citizen.  Nearly every day, teachers must deal with assorted laws related to issues such as school safety, child abuse, student discipline, negligence, defamation, student records and copyright infringement.  And still they must teach, in an era where school safety has taken on added importance.   

Any examination of why educators choose teaching reveals a variety of purposes. Making a difference in our society, as well as in the lives of children, are two most frequently cited reasons for working in public education.  I know from my own experience that one of the loneliest feelings in the world is that of being a new teacher. First year teachers are not the only people with this experience; this also includes teachers transitioning into a new school. In a world where seemingly all knowledge is found on the internet, there is still some wisdom that can only be gained through experience. A school-based mentor can provide that experience. 

Research shows that employees in any field who have mentors report higher salaries, more frequent promotions, higher job satisfaction, stronger commitment to their organization and are less likely to want to leave their jobs than those without mentors. Peer relationships are often overlooked but can frequently be more beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee.   

That is why it important that we develop mentor relationships in education. We encourage our members to mentor “new” teachers, and be that colleague that others can trust. Seek to be that “go to” person with whom colleagues can ask questions, vent, and learn about the school culture. Encourage teachers that no matter how embarrassed they are about a matter, you are someone they can ask.  Be that colleague in your school and district others can go to for accountability and encouragement without being judged.   

If one teacher decides to mentor another, practical guidelines should be determined before beginning.  We suggest having regularly scheduled meetings.  Each conversation should be somewhat planned, but there should be no fear of flexibility. A mentor should keep in mind the best mentor relationships are when both the mentor and mentee benefit by that relationship.  Finally, avoiding gossip is imperative. There is enough gossip in schools by teachers, parents and staff. Unfortunately, there are those who enjoy keeping the most rascally reports active. A gossiper should always remember that, sooner or later, he or she may fall victim to someone else's gossip.   

Educational mentors should also remember is that “relationships require cultivation and cultivation takes time.” Participants must make an investment in order to receive the benefit that mentoring relationships can provide. No investment, no return. Mentoring relationships will require your time, energy and commitment but they can be mutually advantageous as well.

JC Bowman 

Executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee.




Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t know who was the first to do the Famous Pregnant Turkey prank but I’ll bet you a handful of giblets there will be a lot of copycats who try it today. The trick is finding a Cornish hen that is small enough to stuff inside the larger turkey. Then you skillfully pack the bird with some of that sausage-sage dressing and put your Thanksgiving dinner in the oven. When all ... (click for more)

Thankful For Tennessee

While Christmas reigns supreme as a holiday marking the birth of our Lord, I have always felt a special connection with Thanksgiving. These days Christmas unfortunately includes ubiquitous commercialism which can distract us from the true meaning of the day. Thanksgiving stands apart from all that. This day gives us an opportunity to reflect and take stock of our many blessings.  ... (click for more)

5 Disinherited Adopted Children Of Dr. J. Don Brock May Share In Rich Estate After All

Five disinherited adopted children of the late Chattanooga businessman J. Don Brock may share in his large estate after all. After losing at the trial court and appeals court level, the plaintiffs won a victory at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Justice Cornelia Clark ruled in favor of the adopted children and remanded the case to the trial court for settlement of the estate. ... (click for more)

Walker County Asks Dismissal Of Erlanger Lawsuit Asking Court To Order New Taxes For Payment Of $8.7 Million Debt

Walker County, Ga., is asking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Erlanger Health System that asks a federal judge to order the levying of taxes to pay an $8.7 million debt. Walker County noted that new Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has imposed a special tax levy on its citizens designed to satisfy the debt. It also says that Commissioner Whitfield held several meetings with ... (click for more)

Vandy Offers Vols Last Chance To Wipe Some Misery From 2017

Tennessee’s football season from hell comes to a mind-numbing conclusion on Saturday when the limping Vols take on a crippled Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium at 4 p.m. in a game some network boob in a dark, smokey room in Birmingham, Alabama, decided was good enough to be televised by the SEC Network. Each of the longtime bitter rivals is 4-7 overall and a dismal 0-7 in conference ... (click for more)

JOHN HUNT: Thanksgiving 2017 Special As Always

I can’t believe it’s that time again.  Another year has come and gone and where did it all go? My father once told me that time really flies as you get older and I’m starting to believe him. But we’re back to one of my favorite holidays of the year – Thanksgiving – and I’m looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends.  I’m sure that I’ll eat too ... (click for more)