Monday / April 22

3 Areas New Teachers Need Our Help

As mentors, we work hard at building relationships through the development of trust and respect with the new teachers with whom we work. These relationships are supportive and collaborative in nature and have an influential impact on the beginning teachers and their professional development.

Throughout our interactions with the beginning teachers in our charge, we offer them a continuum of support by means of our instructive, facilitative, and collaborative methods. New teachers’ understanding is enhanced by our expertise as we model lessons, prompt with a variety of questioning techniques, and address issues directly.

So how can we help new teachers?

Our role as a mentor is multifaceted and our work is accomplished in varying formats, requiring a great deal of flexibility on our part. Our guidance falls into three general categories: students, curriculum, and professional duties. Included below is a table of these categories and examples of each.

Categories and examples of mentor assistance:

Students Curriculum Professional Duties
v  Help design, organize, and set up classroom

v  Help in developing classroom management systems

v  Assist in developing classroom student profile

v  Share ideas for instructional strategies

v  Help design rubrics for behavior and content areas

v  Provide a variety of assessment tools

v  Observe student behavior with specific focus and provide teacher with recorded data

v  Collaboratively analyze student work


v  Collaboratively plan lessons and units of study

v  Find and provide content resources

v  Observe instruction and facilitate reflection and determination of next steps

v  Provide information on differentiating instruction

v  Model lesson that includes conferencing before and after

v  Organize classroom visitations to veteran teacher classrooms


v  Facilitate reflection, self-assessment and goal setting based on teaching standards

v  Facilitate communication between colleagues, paraprofessionals, specialists, parents, and administration

v  Help plan and organize for parent communication

v  Assist in determining school and community resources

v  Provide examples of organization, agenda, and handouts for Back-To-School events

v  Advocate for teacher with administrators

It takes careful listening on our part as mentors to be able to determine the individual needs of each of our beginning teachers. We then can select the most effective methods to address and provide support. By meeting the needs of new teachers, we help them to develop a habit of mind and reflective practice. As a result of our supportive and skillful work, the beginning teachers grow in their accomplishments and become leaders.

Next Steps:

  1. What has been your experience with mentors?
  2. What are the qualities of your mentors that have been the most beneficial to your growth and development?

Written by

Georganne Schroth-Cavataio is a veteran teacher of 30 years in both general and special education. Ms. Cavataio’s educational background includes a Masters degree in Education from San Jose State University (SJSU) with an emphasis on cross-cultural literacy for an equitable society. Additionally, her educational credentials include: Education Specialist, Reading Specialist, and Multiple Subjects. Within these many educational capacities, Ms. Cavataio has had opportunities to work with diverse populations ranging in ages from preschool through adult. She has mentored both special education and general education beginning teachers in grades K-12 locally and nationally with The New Teacher Center eMSS online mentoring program and Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project. Ms. Cavataio has supervised student teachers and Interns for the Department of Special Education at SJSU. She has published with the education journal Academic Exchange Quarterly, and co-authored articles for the National Teacher Education Journal, and NASSP: Principal Leadership. Georganne is the co-author of Mentorship of Special Educators.

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