Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Encouraging Teachers

(photo originally appeared on http://www.staffpart.org.uk/mentoring.htm)

This week I am doing some summer teacher training. It's elective. No one's forcing me to go during my time off. As someone who has spent years encouraging teachers with my words, I thought it was time to do that with skin on. This is "Clinical Education" training. It's for teachers who desire to be mentors to other teachers - from fresh out of college interns to veteran teachers who need a shot in the arm.

Teachers are territorial by nature and it's not easy to accept advice from others. We guard our independence fiercely, sometimes to our own detriment. If we feel like we're drowning, we tend to go down quietly and unnoticed. Teachers leave the field, in the United States, after only 2.5 years in the field! It takes easily 3 years to actually feel like you know what you're doing. They're not staying long enough to get that far.

Why is this happening? Many cite lack of support as one of the reasons. Those of us who stay need to do a better job at encouraging others to stay with us.

Learning how to give others feedback that is constructive, yet not threatening is a trick - something I hope to learn how to do better.

Whether you're a mom or a teacher or you're in a job that challenges your resolve, who encourages you? And. . . who do you encourage to keep one foot in front of the other?