Day 21: The Key To Teacher Resiliency May Be Mentoring #AprilBlogADay

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-->Prompt: What makes you resilient? Why are you still teaching today?

In an article from NEA Today Cindy Long reports:

"However, “two important findings support what NEA has advocated for a long time,” says Segun Eubanks, director for Teacher Quality at the National Education Association (NEA). “That high quality mentors and competitive salaries make a difference in keeping teachers.”

According to the study, in 2008-2009, 92 percent of those who had first-year mentors were still teaching, compared to 84 percent of those without mentors. By 2011-12, 86 percent of those who had first-year mentors were teaching, compared to 71 percent who did not have mentors."

 If I do my English teacher math, based on the data, first year teachers who have mentoring are 15% more likely to to continue teaching than those who don't.  Is mentoring the key to resiliency? I didn't have much formal mentoring but I did have access to a number of amazing ELA coaches that I worked with over the years before the CFNs (essentially and very simply: networks of schools that are supported by a group of coaches- and other support staff).  Their guidance and advice was invaluable as I developed my teaching practice.  

This year I work (formally) with two first year teachers.  One a new ELA teacher the other a music teacher.  I hope that I offer as much to them as coaches in my journey offered me.  Some days I see them struggle, others I know they are having wins.  I know that trail and error is a huge part of the teaching and learning process.  We discover what worked by see what didn't.  New teachers, however, don't like to make mistakes.  They put so much pressure on themselves to be their own ideal of what a teacher should be, there is often no space for challenges, faults and failures. I will be the first to tell you, there are many things that needed work.  That is how I got better. 

The quote above says is all.  When we give ourselves permission to stop striving for perfection and instead strive for growth, then we can become the teachers we are meant to be. 


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