Creating a Strong Mentoring Program
by Dianne McKinley
As leaders during these difficult times, it can be hard to attract, hire, and retain great teachers. One way to do this is by creating a strong mentoring program at your school.
Teachers want to feel valued, connected, and supported with the difficult work they do every day. Teachers who are new to your school, both new educators and veterans alike, need a high level of support. Providing the right support can ensure that they are successful and remain valuable members of your staff for years to come.
Find the Right Mentors
Great mentors are worth their weight in gold. They set the tone for the year with their mentee. They establish the school culture and ensure that new teachers get off on the right foot.
Do not make the mistake of putting out a blanket email to all staff asking for volunteers to serve as mentors. Instead, create a mentor job description. Include things such as the amount of time required and qualifications. Then approach staff members who fit this description and invite them to apply to become a mentor.
As with any important role, it is important to train mentors so that they can meet and exceed your expectations. Provide them with the purpose and goals of the mentoring program. Give them a list of suggested and required activities to do with their mentee each month. Give them a log to keep track of their activity.
As an accountability measure, ask mentors and mentees to turn in their activity logs quarterly. This will allow you to see how much time the pair is spending together and determine the effectiveness of the program.
Schedule Mentor Time
True mentorship takes time. Be sure to build in time for your mentors and mentees to get together during the work day. Do not expect them to meet during their personal
time. While many mentors and mentees become friends and may want to spend time together outside of school hours, never make this a part of the mentoring program. Instead, consider it a success if they decide to do this on their own.
To ensure that mentors will meet regularly with their mentee, build time into the school day at least once a month for them to work together. You can do this by getting coverage for one class period so that the two can meet. This is a great time for them to work on the calendar of activities you provided during training.
Compensate Mentors and Mentees
When it comes to time and effort, mentoring takes a lot of both. Be sure to put value on the work that goes into being an outstanding mentor. Work with your school district and school board to provide stipends or pay for mentors. Be sure to outline in detail the tremendous cost savings that the school will benefit from by reducing turnover and the increased student achievement that will occur by having well supported teachers.
Additionally, reach out to local business and ask them to help support your mentoring program. Write them a letter and explain the tremendous benefits that mentoring provides to the school and community. Ask them to donate money, good, or services to support your mentors and mentees. Many businesses are excited to provide lunches, goodie bags, coupons, and more.
If you have a little cash (or a business donates some), you can purchase something to make the duo feel connected. One great idea is to buy mentoring t-shirts that they wear once a month for their mentoring meeting day.
Creating a high-performing, sustainable mentoring program will provide your school and community with many benefits. By taking the time to develop this program, you will enjoy its lasting effects. Word spreads quickly about quality districts with great support. By implementing these steps you will attract, hire, and retain high-quality teachers.
More Blogs by Dianne McKinley:
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. We earn on purchases at no extra cost to you.