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.

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Petty County Tyrants - And Response (2)

Last week's County Commission meeting was quite a show. Ironically, the preacher giving the opening invocation asked that "truth may prevail" because that is the opposite of what happened. What we actually saw was bickering, verbal attacks, and a collapse of democratic discourse. It is typically not my approach to "attack" individuals, but as each commissioner made public statements, ... (click for more)

2 Shot On Shepherd Road Tuesday Evening

Two people were shot Tuesday evening on Shepherd Road. Chattanooga Police were dispatched just before  6:30 p.m.   Tuesday,  to a parties shot call in the 1900 block of Shepherd Road.   Upon arrival, police were told two injured parties were transported to a local hospital via personal vehicle.  Both victims told investigators they were walking ... (click for more)

In Surprise Vote, Chattanooga City Council Turns Down Short Term Vacation Rentals

In a surprise vote, the City Council on Tuesday night turned down allowing a process to legalize short term vacation rentals in Chattanooga. Only Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell voted in favor. Opposed were Carol Berz, Yusuf Hakeem, Larry Grohn, Moses Freeman, Ken Smith and Russell Gilbert. Chris Anderson was absent. Afterward, Councilman Smith said, in light of the vote, ... (click for more)

Taylor Luthringer, Thomas Porter Win Region Cross Country

COOKEVILLE – Tuesday was a pretty good day for the Signal Mountain cross country teams. Not only did they celebrate with both individual winners in the Region 4-A/AA races, but both teams finished in the top three and will advance to the state meet, which will be held at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park a week from Saturday. Taylor Luthringer and Thomas Porter captured the individual ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)