Suggested Topics and Timeline for Mentor Training
and Ongoing Support
Note: Professional development sessions for mentors and/or new teachers are excellent opportunities to collect data for formative and/or summative evaluation of the program.
It is optimal for mentors to be trained during the summer so that they may start meeting with the new teachers before the beginning of the school year. An institute of 3-5 days provides ample opportunity for mentors to learn enough about and practice the skills needed to be effective mentors. Including the new teachers in some of the training, particularly the coaching cycle and discussions about confidentiality, has proven to be helpful to both mentors and new teachers.
September – May
It is beneficial for mentors to have monthly meetings with other mentors and a trainer/facilitator to discuss their mentoring experiences, learn from each other, and be supported in their coaching
It is equally beneficial for new teachers to have monthly meetings with other new teachers in the district and a trainer/facilitator to discuss their experiences as new teachers and be supported in their efforts to cope with the challenges they face their first year.
Mentors need ongoing training and support to improve their coaching skills. Monthly professional development is optimal; meeting every two months for additional training is useful. This may take the form of full or half-day sessions for all mentors. It may also include individual coaching of the mentor during planning and/or reflecting conferences, with the permission of the new teacher, to hone cognitive coaching skills.
A culminating session for mentors and new teachers to reflect on their experiences and learning during the year, chart successes and challenges, as well as needs for future professional development, is important. This should also be a time for celebration of the efforts and achievements of the new teachers and the mentors.
Mentoring: A Resource and Training Guide for Educators, 2nd Edition (Dunne and Villani, forthcoming 2005)