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How To Mentoring Matters In School?
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We know that new teachers often maintain informal contacts with classmates and instructors from their teacher training programs. It is common for teachers in training to rely on peers and instructors for support and guidance when they are in school. An abrupt break from those contacts can be a significant loss for new teachers who are attempting to find their way in a new profession.
When college or university personnel maintain contact with their graduates as they begin teaching, they serve an important role. First, they convey to graduates that the institution remains invested in their success. If a college Discount Juicy Couture or university follows graduates at the start of their teaching careers, the implied message is that what they do as teachers is so important that the university is going to follow them as they begin in the profession.
Many colleges and universities do maintain follow-up contact with their graduates. The effort requires a good deal of commitment, and the process can be time consuming. The contributors from Elmhurst College offer practical suggestions for initiating and sustaining an alumni support group, and they share their insights about the value that such groups bring to new teachers.
1. Mentoring New Teachers: What Teacher Education Programs Can Do to Help
The regrettably high rate of teacher attrition (as high as 50% in the first five years, according to Ingersoll and Smith) is due, in part, to the fact that there is inadequate support for new teachers in the field (Wilkins and Clift). Collaborative environments help new teachers meet the need to reflect on their instructional strategies, practices, and interactions with students (Yost). But the high attrition rate among early-career teachers suggests that it is not easy to find professional communities that provide nonthreatening, no evaluative discussions about the art of teaching. While mentoring and induction programs in the schools can address some concerns about retention and professional development of teachers, colleges and universities that prepare teachers can provide another way to support new teachers. At Elmhurst College, a small liberal-arts college outside of Chicago, we have developed an alumni support project to address two critical concerns facing the field of education today: the need for supplying ongoing teacher support and improving teacher retention rates. To date, this project has provided support for approximately 100 teachers who have graduated from teacher education programs at the college.
2. A Community of Early-Career Teachers
We have invited all teacher education alumni from our five education programs (Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and our Graduate Program in Early Childhood Special Education) over the last five years to participate in one of five program-specific teacher support seminars that begin in the fall of each school term. There are four main Juicy Couture Jewelry goals for this project. They include the following:
To refine critical reflection skills in early-career teachers so they can effectively evaluate their teaching practices;
To enhance the ongoing professional development of early-career teachers by sharing information on current teaching strategies;
To support our teacher education program alumni in their work in schools by providing a safe place to discuss the daily challenges of their teaching practice in a no evaluative setting;
To investigate the effects that participation in a reflective practice support group has on changes in teaching practices of group members.
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