Effective mentorship crucial to new teacher success
- Three recently released studies provide clear evidence of the connection between the effectiveness of the mentors assigned to student teachers and the quality of the teachers they become, an article by Chalkbeat.
- The cumulative findings of the three studies indicate that student teachers with teacher mentors who had proven themselves effective (regardless of length of experience) felt better prepared to enter the classroom, had better observational scores, and, in some cases, produced students with higher rates of achievement.
- Previous studies on the issue have also suggested that beginning teachers fare better if their student teaching was done in a school with similar demographics to the one where they are hired and indicate that the classrooms hosting student teachers suffer no ill-effects from the mentorship process.
The recent studies indicate that effective teaching is, to some degree, replicable, and that student teachers receive the greatest benefit from working under mentors who possess the qualities of an effective teacher. The studies also serve as a reminder of the need for mentoring and the awesome responsibility that rests on the shoulders of great mentors. These mentors themselves may benefit from strategies to help them become more effective in the role.
However, mentorship does not end with student teaching. Beginning teachers need support and mentoring as well. The New Teacher Center recently released its latest Teacher Induction Program Standards to provide school administrators with a guide for the process. And some schools are seeing benefits from an internship period for new teachers that eases them into their new roles and responsibilities. The mentorship model is also being carried throughout districts that utilize the Opportunity Culture model, paying effective teachers more to serve in a leadership role and provide guidance to less-effective or less-experienced peers. If effective teaching can be truly replicated, the whole district stands to benefit.