Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mentoring new teachers

One area of interest I have is the retention of highly qualified Early Childhood teachers. All too often I hear of excellent EC teachers leaving the field to go work for a school district or leave the field all together. I spend a lot of time wondering, "why?" I often get the response that this happens, "because of the money." While that may be true in the short run, I have a hard time believing that this gets to the heart of matter. There is quite a bit of research that indicates that people are really not any more happy because of money, as long as their basic needs are being met. When I think about how to retain teachers in the field, I think about all the reasons why I thought about leaving the field from time to time. . . .
  • My work load was too heavy
  • I was not receiving enough support at work
  • I did not feel valued
  • I did not know what I was getting into
  • I did not receive adequate training
I propose a method of addressing some of the above concerns might be the mentoring new teachers by experienced teachers. There is some research regarding this topic, however, not as much as I would like to see. Particularly, I have not discovered much for current (within the past four years) research in this area. In Wisconsin, teachers who pursue a DPI license, are paired with a mentor in order to hold their Initial Educator License. However, this is not required of E/C teachers in our state. Other states, such as California, New York, and Montana have mentoring program and could be used as a model for the state of Wisconsin.

Are you an E/C teacher who has been part of a mentoring program? Did you find it beneficial? If yes, why? If no, why?

Below are some links to Mentoring programs within Wisconsin School districts. Again, these are specific to elementary schools, not specific to preschool or childcare centers. However, they could certainly be used as a template if your preschool or child care center wishes to begin a mentoring program.

Keep playing,

Rachael :-)

New Teacher Mentor Handbook
Mentoring Teachers Course at UW-Stout
New Teacher Mentor Check List
New Teacher Center Wisconsin
Wisconsin New Teacher's Academy

1 comment:

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