To help new teachers navigate the landscape at MMFS, Upper School Social Worker Aniru Thomas and Middle School Head Teacher Jeremiah Feather were approached to build on committee work and kickstart the MMFS Mentor Teacher Program. After a successful pilot program, the program has expanded this year, with nine pairs of mentor/mentees.
The idea is for mentees to benefit from the experience and hard-earned wisdom of their mentors. Key tasks include identifying and clarifying instructional issues or concerns, generating ideas and solutions, choosing and committing to action steps, and follow-through/follow-up. The pairs also work on crucial skills such as building relationships, building trust, and setting boundaries. Participants are expected to hold formal meetings, keep agendas, and log notes, but are also encouraged to leave plenty of time for informal conversation.
Teaching during a pandemic brings additional challenges. More is being asked of all teachers as they adapt to hybrid and/or remote teaching. Having a mentor during this time can provide extra support to quell stress, anxiety, or uncertainty.
Aniru and Jeremiah left no stone unturned, building a training element in to the program to mentor the mentors. By working through various school-based scenarios, new mentors are equipped to be effective guides for their mentees. Going forward, the program aims to provide each new teacher with a mentor during their first year. Because helping teachers helps students.