Mentoring for Mentors
As we seek to support new teachers via mentorship an important question is who mentors the mentors? In our shared work supporting NTIP we are increasingly engaged with school boards providing a continuum of support and foundational learning opportunities for mentors. Effective mentorship skills are highly transferable and include:
Reciprocal learning is a foundational component of all mentoring relationships. One of the most powerful outcomes of mentorship is it serves as a means for job embedded deprivatization of practice and fosters reflection, learning and growth of mentors themselves. In summary, mentoring is an act of learning.
Fostering Principal Encouragement
In their longitudinal research of NTIP, Christine Frank & Associates found ongoing feedback and encouragement from the principal was the strongest predictor of growth in NTIP. This speaks to the power of listening, the power of encouragement, and the ability of the principal to be a meaningful piece of a mentoring web for a new teacher.
So, just as we ask who mentors the mentors we might also ask who encourages our principals? All of the foundational elements of mentorship apply just as strongly to principals as they seek to support new teachers and indeed all staff in their school.