The first week is finished and I'm soaking up football, sleeping in, and a three-day weekend! I'm going to be adding pictures of my classroom to my blog finally, but I really wanted to talk about something I'm excited to start this year...an informal mentoring group for new teachers at my school!
When I started at my current school in 2012, I'd been teaching for 10 years in several different settings and didn't need help in the classroom as much as I just needed to be notified and informed of school-based traditions, expectations, etc. I work at a small school where most teachers had worked there, and only there, for 10-20 years, without many new people coming on board. They're fantastic, friendly, and nice people, but I think they assumed many of their school traditions and such were commonplace. So, often, the first few months, I'd be rushing to pick a student for this or that, invite a parent to something, or hastily getting prepared for something nobody had told me about ahead of time! If you know me, you would know this did not make me happy...at all.
We've steadily added one or two new people each year and we've tried to be sure they feel welcomed and informed. Most of them were experienced teachers and it (mostly) went pretty smoothly. Last year and this year, however, we've hired about ten new people and several of them were brand new, first-year teachers. I know they have a lot on their plate...learning classroom management, figuring out curriculum, and many are currently taking college courses as well. I didn't want to pile on, but I spoke to my principal about doing informal mentoring meetings, since we do not have anything formal in place at this point. She thought it sounded great and I was so happy that the teachers were thankful and relieved rather than feeling like it was one more meeting they had to attend. My goal will be to inform them of and explain lots of "the little things", so those little extras do not pile up and become a huge frustration. Some of the things we will be covering at the first meeting will be Leader of the Week story and snack, Leader of the Month (Awards, Family Breakfast, and Activity), World Series of Reading, Monthly Habits and Kindness Lessons, Data Notebooks, Leadership Teams, and anything else they have questions about right now!!
We will be meeting every other week after school. My plan is to make a list of upcoming activities and deadlines to talk about and the teachers will bring lists of questions or concerns that they would like to chat about as well. And, I'll provide goodies. :) Any teacher will be welcome to attend, so I'm hoping to have teachers from across the grade levels to help answer questions. I'm very excited to get this started and I truly hope they will find it beneficial as they start this wonderful (and sometimes crazy) career!!
What are some programs you have in place at your school for new or new-to-the-building teachers? I'd love to get some more ideas! Thanks in advance!