Sunday / May 26

Mentors, Help Your Novices End the Year With a SMILE

S = Say something positive. New teachers usually focus on what they are doing wrong. They feel the challenges and know the struggles. When you give an authentic compliment, it shows you are noticing what they are doing right. We all want to hear something that we are doing well. Write the compliments as “love” notes and place them in the novice teachers’ mailboxes.  “I love the way you…” will always get a smile.

M = Make time for problem solving. There are always issues at the end of the year that novice teachers are facing. Sometimes they don’t want to ask for help because they think they should not be having that problem. An easy to use protocol for “solving a problem” can be found in the practical guidebook, Mentoring in Action: Guiding Sharing, and Reflecting With Novice Teachers. You will also find ideas for 5, 10, 15, and 20-minute meetings that can save you time. Short meetings make mentors and novices smile, especially at the end of the year!

I = Integrate fun into mentoring. Find ways to bring humor into novice teachers’ days. We all get so serious! Novices must have a sense of humor to survive the end of a school year. Factor fun into your conversations so the things you talk about are not just problems. There is nothing wrong with a belly laugh!

L = Lead a meeting that highlights best practices. Novices love to meet each other and compare and share ideas. By organizing a place and time for novices you are saying that sharing ideas is important. You will see smiling teachers leave these meetings armed with new ideas.

E = Engage the novices in self-care conversations. Make sure you take time to personally connect with each novice and check in on their social and emotional well-being. There is lots of opportunity for stress and anxiety to get out of hand at the closing of a school year. Don’t lose a great new teacher because you didn’t know she was struggling.

SMILE when you meet your novices in passing. The last few months of school are stressful for them. If you share a cheerful smile, you ripple that positive energy to the novices and you get the benefit of giving your SMILE to another person!

Written by

Carol Pelletier Radford is the Founder and CEO of This team is a group of dedicated teacher leaders who offer expertise and resources in the spirit of paying in forward to support the success of students. The mission of Mentoring in Action is to empower mentors and novice teachers in realizing their full potential as effective teachers and emerging leaders. She received her EdD from Harvard University where she focused her studies on teacher leadership and professional development. Carol began her career as a public school teacher where she learned the value of student engagement, teacher collaboration, and using student voices to improve teaching practices. She served in higher education as a teacher, administrator, licensing officer, and alternative certification program director. Carol is the author of three books that support novice teacher and mentor leadership development. Two books with Corwin Press: Mentoring in Action: Guiding, Sharing, and Reflecting With Novice Teachers and The First Years Matter: Becoming an Effective Teacher, offer school districts a month-by- month curriculum. Her third edition of Strategies for Successful Student Teaching guides the student teacher through the practicum, the job search and into the first year of teaching. Dr. Radford is actively engaged in designing online mentoring graduate courses that use videos, reflective journals, and mindfulness practices. She is a passionate advocate of teacher leadership and the development of mentor leaders who can transform their district induction programs to bring joy back to the classroom.

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  • Thanks, you’re cool, uplifting. Can I have more on PBL?

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