Mentoring New Teachers, Virtually

Mentoring new teachers has taken on a new urgency, as the nature of education is different than anything they may have been prepared for. Under normal circumstances, a mentor could walk the hallways of a school and gain a superficial understanding of which classrooms were in dire need of some intervention. In virtual instruction, walking the hallway is a little different, but let’s not allow ourselves to think it’s more difficult. In reality, it is easier for a mentor to slip into a classroom and check in on a new teacher than it has ever been. Mentors can slip into a classroom without the door closing and every student looking up briefly or wondering aloud “Who is that, Miss?” Now is a great time to revise mentoring protocols and ensure that mentors and mentees have each other invited to all of each other’s class times, actually plan a set number of visitations each month, and make appointments to discuss what was seen and other issues that exist or can be forecasted. The virtual world is an obstacle that can be turned into an opportunity for the mentoring relationship. Take advantage and use it for all it’s worth — there is no better professional development than having a learned colleague giving you feedback on your instructional practices.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

— John F. Kennedy