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: Want To Protest? Get Paid!

In a troubling time when “false news” is the rage and people ask me – to my face – if anybody from Russia ever approached me personally searching for votes for President-elect Donald Trump, there appears a website that, to cop a phrase, “is too good to be true.” There is a group out of California that allegedly wants to hire “operatives” to protest Friday’s inauguration. Forget ... (click for more)

During A Martin Luther King, Jr. March Is Not A Time To Campaign

It truly amazing what Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished at just 39 years of age. He changed an entire country. Dr. King was not in elected office or in any position of power. Yet, he accomplished more than any politician.  To me the Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision was an expectation of life centered in education, hard work, and accomplishment that in time would evolve ... (click for more)

Haslam Unveils Comprehensive Tax Cut And Transportation Proposal Including Higher Gas Tax And Vehicle Registration Fee

Joined by mayors from across the state and leaders in the manufacturing and trucking industries, Governor Bill Haslam on Wednesday announced "a comprehensive and strategic plan to cut taxes on food and manufacturing while updating how the state provides Tennesseans the safe and reliable transportation network needed to support future job growth." The IMPROVE Act, “Improving ... (click for more)

Big Woody's Tree Service Employee Killed In Fall On Signal Mountain

An employee of Woody's Tree Service fell to his death 150 feet off a bluff while trimming trees on Signal Mountain on Wednesday. At  11:22 a.m. , a 911 call was made by an employee of the tree service reporting a man in his early 30s had fallen off a bluff the mountain while trimming trees on private property. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded to 6202 ... (click for more)

Tyner Outshoots Brainerd In Big 6-AA Battle

Brainerd’s Jackson-High Gymnasium was filled to capacity long before the girls game had ended Tuesday night, but the overflow crowd had come to see the second meeting between Tyner and Brainerd and a battle for first place in District 6-AA. Both are ranked in the latest state Class AA poll with Tyner listed sixth and Brainerd ninth.  Brainerd had won all four meetings ... (click for more)

No. 3 Cleveland Sneaks Past Walker Valley 59-51

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – State-ranked Cleveland blew most of a 13-point second-half lead, but got clutch field goals from Deontae Davis and KK Curry down the stretch and managed to stay unbeaten in District 5-3A high school basketball action with a hard-fought 59-51 victory over rival Walker Valley on Tuesday night. Walker Valley’s girls defeated the Lady Blue Raiders 43-39 in overtime. ... (click for more)