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Every Teacher Needs a Mentor


As a teacher, you need to find a person who advises, challenges and celebrates you. Every teacher needs a mentor.

A teaching mentor isn’t just a supportive friend, they are excellent practitioners who share their knowledge through conversation every single day. They can disagree with you and assist you in developing your very own educational voice, helping you refine your academic skill.

Anyone who begins a teaching career is assigned some sort of mentor, usually through a formal induction program. These kinds of programs pair a new teacher with someone who has years of experience. The veteran teacher provides advice regularly in the first year or two of a teacher’s probation period.

Of course, these induction courses have drawn criticism as some state that the guidelines in these programs are overly controlling and involve unnecessary paperwork. Another significant criticism is that the mentor is assigned a relationship and was not given a choice in it, thus, forced to build a relationship as opposed to letting one develop naturally.

As a teacher, having a mentor assigned to you is one thing, but finding someone who challenges, advises and celebrates you is what real mentorship is about.

So, what makes a great mentor?

An effective mentor has the following qualities:

  • Listens, but knows when to make you stop, and listen.
  • Respects you and what you are trying to achieve but pushes you to solve problems by taking on a unique perspective.
  • Celebrates your wins and successes.
  • Collaborates with you and enjoys reciprocal learning.
  • Models best practices while respecting differences in teaching styles.
  • Gives you room to vent, complain, and feel failure and or shame without judgement.
  • It is important to note that not all mentors need to have seniority. New teachers can also be mentors. It comes down to leadership ability and attitude.

    Continued Mentorship

    Continued and consistent mentorship helps in:

  • Retaining effective teachers.
  • Improving teaching practice.
  • Keeping us engaged in the teaching profession.
  • Improving the practice of mentorship itself.
  • We should always seek out mentor relationships, regardless of seniority. All teachers should open their door to becoming a mentor as well.
    Trust that you have something to offer others. We all do.

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