The Needs of Beginning Teachers and How Mentors Respond

I was recently stranded overnight and then delayed while traveling to Rochester, NY to conduct a two day training for Mentors. I called my colleague, Sandra Fink, who lives close by and requested that she step in to cover until I could arrive. When I arrived, I found that Sandra had the group deeply engaged in a discussion around applying William Glasser’s elements of motivation to beginning teachers and mentors. I asked Sandra to share her activity here with you.

Sandra writes:
The Rochester City School District’s Career in Teaching Program (CIT), a collaborative effort of the district and Rochester Teachers Association, has been a positive catalyst for over twenty-three years. It has been successful in improving teacher retention and providing a professional ladder for effective lead teachers to advance and remain in the classroom. Steve Barkley has been a consultant since the program’s inception and continues to facilitate coaching workshops during new mentor orientation. Marie Costanza, the current director, was one of the original mentors who credits her success with mentoring new teachers to developing effective coaching skills.

DIRECTIONS: Let’s look at mentoring beyond survival. Work in small groups and list the characteristics, activities and behaviors of the mentor and intern in the motivation stage you have been assigned.

In the third edition of The Quality School: Managing Students Without Coercion (1998) William Glasser, M.D., identifies five universals that motivate people:

Survival – learning the ropes, doing the right things when approaching
something new.

Belonging – being accepted, receiving approval, be liked by the group.

Power – feeling comfortable enough to experiment and take risks, knowing
what to do, having a sense of power.

Freedom – feeling confident to explore, taking ownership, and the freedom to
make choices.

Fun – confident, excited, motivation spreads to others.

We had a whole group discussion about the survival stage. It was very apparent that everyone had a good idea of what survival sounds like, looks like and feels like to the beginning teacher.

Then, each table was assigned one of the remaining steps; belonging, power, freedom or fun. Here is what Rochester mentors generated when applying to mentors and the beginning teachers they serve.

BELONGING
Characteristics
• mentor and intern – being accepted, being respected, common knowledge

Activities
• mentor – assisting in set up, inviting, introducing to colleagues
• intern – observing

Behaviors
• mentor – calling to check up, sharing resources, socializing
• intern – open minded, calling for help

POWER
I can do it, confidence and competence,
The mentor moves from “how do I do this” to “here’s an idea… how can you use this?” The intern takes chances, and is looking forward not backward.
A synthesis of what you learned becomes what you know,” I am an asset, I got it!”

FREEDOM
The intern becomes a risk taker, creative, adventurous, intuitive, open to new ideas, reflective thinker, fearless… They embrace many ideas, growing, seeking freedom and values, accepting failure, searching for strategies to motivate others.. a trail blazer.
The intern, feeling in control, adjust + readjust = flexibility, trust, confidence from success. The mentor finds satisfaction in seeing the intern move to a true professional level.

FUN
Mentor and intern are finding….
Pizzazz, sharing, laughter, friendship, survival, power, anticipation, excitement, freedom, field trips, being yourself, celebrations, belonging, cooperative learning, encouragement, sunshine, warm fuzzies, positive communication, and collaboration.

What would your mentors and beginning teachers say………..?

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Steve Barkley

For the past 30 years, Steve has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. Read more…

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