For several years, the issue of the professional induction of teachers has been a topic of research and analysis. Attention has focused on initial training, conditions of induction, and of the support needed by teachers in the early stages of their careers. It is QPAT’s view that mentoring will help encourage teachers to remain in the profession, and allow them to grow throughout their careers.
The result of this research has shown the importance of provisions for:
- welcoming teachers at the beginning of their careers;
- supporting teachers on their entry into the job and to break isolation inherent to the teaching profession.
Mentoring is an essential element in the professional induction of new teachers. New teachers can include:
- recent graduates;
- those who are new to the province of Quebec after having taught elsewhere;
- teachers changing levels of teaching or schools.
It is not uncommon for teachers to find themselves in the role of “new teacher” several times throughout their career or simply to find themselves at a point in their career needing support.
QPAT’s Guiding Principles
These measures were adopted by the QPAT Executive Committee and Board of Directors:
- Involvement in such a process should be voluntary;
- Induction programs should be considered as part of the continuing training of teachers and not an evaluation tool for these teachers;
- Sufficient time and satisfactory conditions should be in place to ensure its success;
- Compensation, such as release time, should be granted whenever possible;
- Induction programs should be developed in collaboration between local unions and school boards.
QPAT’s Recommendation to the MEES
That the development of a ministerial policy for professional induction include:
- a budget envelope that is dedicated to the development and application of professional induction strategies in school boards;
- the adoption of action plans by school boards on professional induction.
Suggestions For Mentor and Protégé Relationship
- To teach and learn by example;
- To make expectations clear and realistic;
- To share experiences;
- To use collaborative problem solving;
- To develop an action plan for professional goals;
- To set aside a convenient predetermined meeting time;
- To demonstrate interest in each other;
- To listen to others’ viewpoints;
- To consider personal strengths and attributes which can define your role;
- To reflect on the way the relationship is progressing to ensure that it is benefcial for everyone involved. Everything is better when you share it.
Approaches to Mentoring
Different forms of mentoring exist depending on the reality of the teachers involved. Here are some examples of the different forms mentoring can take.
Guides the protégé through the school’s culture and logistics. Is the resource person should information be required.
One to One Mentor
Colleagues in the same school that come together because mentor adopts stances that meet the needs of the protégé (i.e., they teach the same subject matter or groups of students). Should be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Two or more protégés who work with one mentor, or a protégé may have more than one mentor. This provides flexibility, tends to work effectively in a school where mentoring is part of the culture.
A protégé reaches out to a member of the staff as need be or vice versa. The relationship may exist between two new teachers, producing a peer mentoring relationship. Tends to be more spontaneous in its collaboration.
Teachers take part in online forums to share their experiences and seek advice from other teachers living through similar experiences. May provide for a vast pool of resources that go above and beyond the school community. Online forums are not always the method of comfort for some teachers.