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.



No More Money For Schools

Re: County Commission Told To Fully Fund County Schools Improvement Request Would Take 28 1/2-Cent Property Tax Increase; 78 School Personnel Would Be Added No. No way. Really, NO! is not a big enough word to express my sentiments here. Even the exclamation point doesn’t add enough to do the job properly.  Mr. Coppinger said, “They are saying if you do this, we’re ... (click for more)

Collegedale's Wreck Problem

Re: Speed Limits Being Lowered On Main Collegedale Thoroughfare  I just read your story on Collegedale lowers speed limit for main thoroughfare.  It's funny the city claims they will have TDOT put up dangerous intersection signs, because last summer when it was stated in a story (possibly not by your company) that they were dropping the speed limit from 55 to 50 on ... (click for more)

Kevin Muhammad Says City Programs Failing; More Attention And Funding Needed For Impoverished Inner City Youths

Nation of Islam leader Kevin Muhammad told a packed house at City Council on Tuesday night that a large segment of Chattanooga is impoverished, while parts of the city are enjoying a Renaissance. Given 20 minutes for a "State of the People" address, he said many city programs are failing, including the Violence Reduction Initiative and a Youth and Family Services reading program. ... (click for more)

County Commission Told To Fully Fund County Schools Improvement Request Would Take 28 1/2-Cent Property Tax Increase; 78 School Personnel Would Be Added

County Mayor Jim Coppinger told members of the County Commission at a budget workshop on Tuesday that it would take a 28 1/2-cent property tax increase to fully fund the county school budget request. The county schools are asking for $24,218,919 in new money for a focus on workforce readiness, literacy and low-performing schools. County Mayor Coppinger did not say whether ... (click for more)

Johnson Homers Twice As Baylor Beats Silverdale, 4-2

There’s nothing more fun than covering a softball game featuring two outstanding teams, ones who can get clutch hits, pitch through tough situations and even make spectacular defensive plays when the game is on the line. That was the case at Silverdale Tuesday afternoon where the Lady Seahawks were hosting the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. Silverdale had gone to Baylor on April ... (click for more)

Bradley Beats West, 8-1, To Wrap Up Impressive Regular Season

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central wrapped up its regular season on Tuesday with an 8-1 non-district baseball victory over Knoxville West at Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex. In their final tune-up for the District 5-3A tournament that starts on Wednesday at Cleveland High School, the Bears improved to 23-6 and rode the five-hit pitching of Jacob Moses (3-2) to the impressive win ... (click for more)