Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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August 16, 2020

Mentoring is a Partnership

By Glenda Lubiner

Most teachers probably think that when they are assigned a mentor, if they are lucky enough to get one, the mentor is there to tell them everything. What they probably do not understand is that mentoring is a partnership. This might be hard to believe, but the mentor will learn as much as the mentee during the process. Mentors want to help guide and support the novice teacher, and in many circumstances, reflect upon their own practice before they mentor someone else.

When a mentoring program is governed efficiently, the mentor and mentee are paired by content area. Studies have shown that when a mentee is paired with a mentor in their grade level and or content area, the mentoring experience tends to be more positive. To achieve a positive mentor-mentee relationship, mentoring should continue outside of the mentoring relationship (Hudson, 2016).

There are several ways that mentoring can be defined; guiding and supporting new teachers, supervising a teacher during their first year, and helping a new teacher get accustomed to their new schools. No matter how mentoring is defined, there is evidence that mentoring has a positive affect and outcome in the effectiveness of beginning teachers.

In a study that I conducted for my dissertation, the participants all agreed that every new teacher should have a mentor. When asked about the skills a mentor should possess, they used the following adjectives: experienced, honest, organized, patient, communicator, leader, and good teacher. One participant put it very bluntly, “you really cannot mentor and give advice unless it’s in a general sense, unless you’ve lived it and walked it.”

So, the bottom line is that if you are going to be a mentor, which I hope you all are, be there for your mentee. You are there to help, support, guide, and lend an ear or a shoulder and maybe even a cup of coffee! And remember, you can always continue the relationship long after the mentorship is over!

Artfully yours,

-GL

Hudson, P. (2016). Forming the mentor-mentee relationship. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning. 24(1), 30-43. doi:10.1080/13611267.2016.1163637

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