Suggestions for mentors and principals
Here is important (and exhausting) work for a beginning teacher: Forming a teacher's identity (personality, style) that both (1) suits the teacher and (2) serves the students. Some moves may suit the teacher but not serve the students, and vice-versa.
is a central arena for forming a teacher's identity, because management raises so
many questions and issues of duty, obligation, authority, power, guardianship,
relationship, and care. So, the work of forming a teacher's identity will
be an important consideration in using all of the tools offered here. As the mentor or principal works with the new teacher about the tools, s/he can keep constantly in mind both that the immediate work is to get a result in the classroom, and that the continuing work is to form an identity that tends to help the new teacher produce humane and educative order.
Forming a teacher's identity is both a matter of practices and a matter of self. So, management issues come close to the bone, and mentoring about management requires a sound partnership with considerable trust and skill:
- How does a mentor
even offer to provide assistance in the matter of forming an identity?
We hope the language above will be helpful. The work is personal, but
- A beginning teacher
is more likely to accept help in forming an identity when s/he participates
in deciding specifically how
that work will be done.
- Sensing the possible
problems, a mentor teacher might be reluctant to get into the matter
of forming an identity--but the beginning teacher might need exactly
that help. An alternative is to anticipate
those problems and prepare for them.
- Since forming identity
comes close to self, beginner and mentor can anticipate that it will
be challenging to analyze
the teaching without cutting the teacher. You can make agreements