Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mentors for New Teachers: just another fad?

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. -- John Crosby
Mentoring -- one might think -- is just the most wonderful thing to come along in education for ... centuries, almost. Everybody seems to be talking about it; why, you can tell how successful it's going to be because just about every other educational conference you see advertised has loads and loads of presentations on mentoring. Or used to. Who knows? Perhaps it will even achieve the stunning success enjoyed by such innovations as open classrooms, or programmed learning!

Student teaching, we know, has long attempted to provide mentors for the fledgling educator by pairing him or her up with an experienced teacher. But the reality is often that each school principal picks the sponsoring teacher for reasons other than any concern to help the student teacher.

The colleges, generally competing with each other for scarce placements, have little control over how their students are placed or what is done with them should they be lucky enough to secure a placement.

To examine these issues further, see Mentoring: Are We Serious?

-- EGR