Wednesday, October 26, 2005

some follow up

First of all, thanks to everyone for their comments, advice and sympathy on my mentoring woes. I needed it. :)

Miss R left the following comment:

Wow! Is your state short on teachers? She must be just hired on as a sub then, right? Well, if she really is going to be sticking around-- I suggest that the principal, instead of burdening you overmuch, schedule some regular time for this teacher "Miss F" to observe other teachers. Schedule a sub for her for two hours in the day while she observes you, her mentor teacher, and others. Perhaps if she doesn't take your suggestions she would like another style of teaching better.Honestly, If i had come into teaching with no prior knowledge, training, or experience, I might be a little overwhelmed with all of your suggestions. Try giving her one "suggestion" each week to work on, and have a maybe 10 min de-briefing time to talk about how it has been going. Also she should be doing some catching up--including on her reading. Maybe have her read Harry Wong's New Teacher book to start. Hopefully she has a little motivation to do this, it is a lot of work.

I don't think our state is short on teachers. The problem is that it's hard to find people who are willing to work for a Catholic school salary when they could go to the public school and make more money. And since Catholic school teachers don't need to be certified, we can pretty much hire anyone. I honestly don't think Miss F has much interest in teaching. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. I like her a lot, but she just doesn't seem motivated enough to invest the time or energy necessary to do this job well. I'm sure she'd be great at other things, though.

Principal has asked her to observe me, as well as some of the other teachers in our school. She hasn't done it yet. I guess Principal hasn't followed up on that. And as far as getting a sub to cover her class while she observes - that's another story altogether.

Also, I agree with Miss R that my advice probably would be overwhelming to anyone who has had absolutely no teaching experience or training. I didn't throw all that advice at her at once - we've met several times since the beginning of the school year. But I honestly don't know what other advice to give her. I tried to meet with her about assessments, but how can she test the kids if she can't even calm them down long enough to get through a lesson? I just figured the best way to attack it is to give her some help with classroom management first.

So things haven't gotten much better with that situation. And my main concern right now is my own classroom, followed by my grad school coursework. Mentoring has to come after that. I don't think it's wrong to selfish about that.


MsAbcMom said...

You are right - be selfish! You have to take care of your needs and the needs of your students first. You will easily wipe yourself out if you focus too much time on someone else who is not wanting to or seeing the need to change.

GuusjeM said...

No, it's not selfish, your students deserve your full attention - that's what you are being paid to do. And your graduate education deserves your attention - it will benefit you and your students.

Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher and it sounds like your neighbor is one of them. After 15 years in the biz I can pretty tell after a month who has the "calling" and who doesn't. And those who don't really need to do everyone and themselves a favor and bail out while they can.

Tessa said...

I agree with Ms. ABCMom, in that mentoring is a bit of a wipeout.
In Victoria, Australia (where I'm currently substituting) we have the Victorian Institute of Teaching, which is our Teacher Registration Board. ( that pretty much mandates that every first year teacher (who is teaching full or part time in a classroom) has to have a mentor. Some teachers volunteer, others get stuck with the job.

My advice to you as her mentor is:
* go slow - it is overwhelming when you've had zero classroom experience. Think of her as a student teacher, but just on the wrong end of the payscale - i.e. she's being paid when you wouldn't pay a student teacher.
*role play with her - directly model 'how to do it with her'
*see if you can do some activities together with the two grades. Could the Grade 3 students read stories they have created to a Grade 1 partner?
* Get your Principal more involved. They hired her, they should be able to help out more.
(or at least, the Principals do all the hiring where I'm from!)
* document any information and or dealings you have had with Miss Inexperience. Then, if she comes to you at the end of the year and says 'You didn't help me at all this year' you can pull it out and say 'uh, well I did.'
*Take her class for an hour and have her watch you. Does she have classroom rules, at least? If not, teach those.

Hope that helps some!
(Melbourne, Australia)

SuzanH said...

It's not selfish to put you job and life first.

I hope you aren't continually overburdened by Miss F's . . . I'm not sure of the right word here.

Good luck in a sticky situation.