Teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs there is, and it does take some acclimating to get into a groove. One thing that can help tremendously is having a mentor to turn to and learn from as you move through your career. Here are a few reasons you need one, whether you are a new or seasoned teacher:
To navigate your many responsibilities. If you’re a new teacher, you’re learning right now that you have many responsibilities, some of which you maybe weren’t aware of previously. Someone with more experience than you can help you learn how to balance your job in the classroom with everything else on your plate. And this goes for the rest of your career as well—teaching is a journey, and it is nice to have someone to help you figure things out as you go.
To learn best practices for professional development. Professional development is important as a teacher, and it’s helpful to have others sharing with you what programs and classes have benefitted them the most. Your mentor can help steer you toward the most valuable ways to improve your skills and expand your knowledge.
To have someone with whom you can celebrate your milestones. Family and friends will always be happy for your career successes, but there’s nothing quite like having a colleague to turn to when you are excited about something or striving toward a goal. The mentor-mentee relationship is one of mutual respect and collaboration. Done well, it can be a real win-win for both you and your mentor, fueling your career growth.
Finding a mentor early in your career can make a tremendous difference in your happiness and longevity. Find out if your school offers a formal program. If not, approach a teacher you admire about the idea. You (and your future mentor) will be glad you did!