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!