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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Supporting Teachers: Resources for Mentors

Mentor educators share tips about finding the best resources.
By Lisa Morehouse

We asked education professionals with varied levels of experience in mentoring about the job and how they approach it. Here's the fourth in a series of responses to four questions:


Where do you find the best resources for mentoring?


Betty Walters

Credit: Courtesy of Adam Dementieff

Day-to-day interaction with other mentors and staff through email, on the telephone, and via Skype has been an enormous support for me as a first-year mentor. Both the tools I've gotten through formal training and access to the Web have made it possible for me to find useful materials that will help beginning teachers address the specific abilities and needs of the students in their classrooms.

-- Betty Walters, Alaska Statewide Mentor Project. Walters travels the state to mentor first- and second-year teachers in multiple subjects.







Lupe Ferran Diaz

Credit: Courtesy of J. Alsop

Several Web sites have been extremely helpful: The University of West Florida's Lesson Architect page walks you through the entire process of creating standards-based lesson plans. It is a useful tool that allows you to save lesson plans and edit them later. Quia.com gives you the ability to create customized educational software online, which you can build around a class and make available to students over the Web. Quia offers assessment and analysis tools and classroom-management features such as class pages, calendars, and grade books. All features are intuitive, and you learn as you go.

On Delicious, you use tags to organize and remember your bookmarks. Teachers can use Delicious to keep links to favorite articles, lessons, book reviews, and research-related articles, so even if they save their bookmarks at home, they can still access them at school.

-- Lupe Ferran Diaz, full-time teacher, Miami Beach Senior High School, Miami Beach, Florida. For five years, Diaz has mentored for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where she supports new teachers, veterans preparing for national board certification, and instructors who need technology training.


The best resources come from being part of a professional learning community with colleagues at the Chicago New Teacher Center. Every week, we gather for staff meetings or forums, opportunities for us to think about our day-to-day coaching practice and solve problems around common issues. Every eight weeks, we delve deep into the processes of coaching and supporting beginning teachers through intensive, three-day professional development programs called mentor academies. All of this gives me a chance to collaborate with people who are doing this actual work every day, which deepens my knowledge of effective coaching practices.

Lately, partner coaching has enhanced my practice by lending another set of eyes and ears to my work in various classroom settings. Two heads are better than one.

-- Sharon Grady, Chicago Public Schools, in partnership with the Chicago New Teacher Center. Over the past six years, she has worked with P-8 teachers in general and special education.



Mylinda Mallon

Credit: Courtesy of K. Andrews


Attending the annual symposium at the New Teacher Center, at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has been a great way to learn, refine, and expand the strategies I use with mentees. Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction also provides the chance to meet monthly with other mentors from the western region of the state. This provides a great opportunity to share ideas for programming and for mentoring beginning teachers.

-- Mylinda Mallon, Lake Washington School District, Redmond, Washington. In her six years of mentoring, she's worked with teachers in all grade levels but now focuses on K-6 teachers in both general and special education.


Melissa Barkin

Credit: Courtesy of Melissa Barkin

I've been fortunate to be the recipient of a lot of Teach for America's excellent resources for new teachers. My most useful resources have come from that program. I have also found helpful some resources that have come from Region I, our local teacher-support center.

-- Melissa Barkin, Roma High School, Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Barkin teaches full time, and she mentors a first-year social studies colleague. She trained new Teach for America instructors last summer.


Frantz Prospere

Credit: Courtesy of Frantz Prospere

My resources come from a variety of places: teacher manuals, my library of professional-development workshop trainings, other teachers, the reading, math, and science coaches assigned to our school, and even our administrators. Both administrators started out as teachers, and they have an outstanding wealth of knowledge and resources.

-- Frantz Prospere, Miami Dade County Public Schools, District 4, Florida. Prospere is a full-time behavior-management teacher who mentors beginning instructors at his site.





More Resources:

Lisa Morehouse, a former teacher, is now a public-radio journalist and education consultant.

Read the first article in this series.

Comments (6)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Carol Riley Cain's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

When I first started mentoring new teachers,the only training I received was a hand out. That was many years ago, and I have since been a mentor many times, both informally and in one formal situation, where I mentored someone earning alternative certification. That involved a lot of paperwork and many observations, but I did earn a stipend that year!

The hardest part of mentoring is remembering what it is like to be a new teacher. If you can do that, and anticipate their needs, you will be an invaluable asset to someone new to the classroom.

There's nothing worse as a new teacher than to find out some rule or procedure that you didn't know, and then have your mentor say, "Oh! I should have told you that!"

Peggy Young's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank you, Mylinda, for mentioning the New Teacher Center's annual Symposium on Teacher Induction. The New Teacher Center is a highly acclaimed program that brings together research, policy, and practice to strengthen new teachers and administrators.
I have coordinated the Symposium since the New Teacher Center opened in 1998, and it truly is a unique conference where participants learn from and with each other. Themes central to induction include: Quality Mentoring, Leadership and Professional Identity, and Equity and Social Justice. We are working on the program for February 2009 ~ stay tuned at www.newteachercenter.org!

Susan Dewalt's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We definitely like the process structure of the NTC, we mix this with two resources from Just ASK Publications. They are the Mentoring in the 21st Century Resource Kit and the book The 21st Century Mentor's Handbook. Very practical and give our mentors strategies on what to do with their proteges.

Lisa Dabbs's picture
Lisa Dabbs
Edu Consultant. Blogger & Social Media Marketing at Edutopia
Blogger 2014
Facilitator 2014

My passion is to mentor and support new and pre-service teachers. I've been doing so for over 14 years as a school principal. Now as an educational consultant, I'm able to reach an even broader audience through the vehicle of Social Media and here at Edutopia with the New Teacher Connection Group.
I believe that the best mentoring support available to teachers currently is through the use of social media platforms like Twitter, Nings and Wikis. It's a 24/7 opportunity that can be accessed at any time if you know where to look. And newbies need to be guided to find those tools to experience the richness that's available!
In creating my New Teacher Chat on Twitter http://newteacherchat.wikispaces.com/ that was my hope. The chat occurs every Wed from 5pt-6pt. It's practitioner focused and supportive.I'm excited as I continue to hear from teachers daily that #ntchat is what got them through the difficult first year of teaching.
It also motivated me to begin The Teacher Mentoring Project on The Educators PLN Ning site. http://www.edupln.com/group/theteachermentoringproject There are over 127 amazing educators from around the world, there, currently available to mentor and support new teachers. All they have to do is locate an educator from the Google Doc, email and connect! It's that simple.
I think the ability to connect globally and seek mentorship on different levels is part of what 21st Century teaching and learning is all about!

EducatingYourKid's picture

Mentormodules.com is a site dedicated to supporting new teacher mentors. It's developed as on online/digital textbook with video cases, articles, and activities that a district, school, or college/university can use to support mentors.

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