Monthly Mentor

Benjamin Tellie (September)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Benjamin Tellie is an art and design educator at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) in Rockville, MD. He has served in many visual arts teaching capacities at various intuitions, and is currently a doctoral student at The George Washington University. Ben was named 2019 Eastern Region Middle Level Art Educator by NAEA. Click "GO" to read his full bio.

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September 06, 2019

Teamwork and Mentoring New Colleagues

By Benjamin Tellie

Beyond thinking about my goals and planning during the beginning of the school day, there is a tremendous amount of time and energy I spend with my colleagues at school on projects throughout the year. I make space in my day to pop in to my art department colleagues’ classrooms and try visit frequently throughout the week to touch base with them. I find this really helps me connect and see what everyone’s working on. 

In the beginning of the school year, developing professional relationships with new colleagues and maintaining ones you have at school is of great importance. This year, I’m mentoring a wonderful new Spanish teacher at our school. Through our time together during the course of the year, I will be mentoring him on many new topics specific to our school community—navigating our school culture, using software, communicating strategies with parents and students, and making sure he has everything he needs to be successful in the first few weeks and beyond. Even though we are in different discipline areas, we can still learn from one another.

For those mentoring new teachers, I would say the most important thing is about knowing when to give your mentee space to work on their own and check in with them at least once a week to plan and work on projects and tasks together as a team. These meetings are very beneficial. For example, grading work, writing up my communications with parents and sending out student updates is something I plan to work on while meeting with my mentee. We can learn from each other and get work accomplished at the same time. I also plan to work with him on arts integration during the year. 

Have you ever mentored a professional colleague outside your department? What was this experience like for you? What are some best practices you can share about mentoring new colleagues and how do you stay connected?

-BT

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