Educator mentoring in public Texas Schools
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It is apparent that Texas education Agency offers a wide range of services to members of staff in the teaching fraternity and mentors to facilitate mentorship programs in public schools (Anon, 2011). Enormous effort has been put in place to employ teachers and nonteaching staffs whose roles and responsibilities have highly contributed to mentoring program. In most cases, the Education Agency has established mentoring programs in district and provincial schools. Such programs have enhanced retention of new graduate teachers as part of equipping them with requisite skills and knowledge on how to go about the process of mentoring mentees in classroom activities (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). It is essential for mentors to be well endowed with mentoring ability in order to improve mentees’ performance in classroom (O’Connor, Malow & Bisland, 2011). Furthermore, it is definite that mentorship programs often improve the quality of academic work executed by the teacher mentors in classroom. It is against this background that this program has been recommended by the public education system in Texas (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). Through mentorship program, mentors are indeed capable of engaging mentees in classroom management activities. Additionally, it makes it possible for teachers to adequately identify some of the weak areas of their mentees and thus take appropriate measures against such weaknesses.
Most mentees also require guidance in classroom management activities
Guiding mentees in classroom facilitates as well as enhances the development of Pedagogical Knowledge of the mentee. By so doing, mentees are placed in a vantage point to perform well alongside social growth as a result of other classroom related activities. Moreover, this directly links them to management of activities in classroom (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). From the past research done on schools in Texas, it was noted that mentees were able to adopt and exercise guidelines and advices given to them by their mentors (Scott et al., 2006). Engaging mentees in activities such as observation and demonstrations enhances their proximal development (Sprick et al., 2009). The latter has a rapid and positive effect especially if executed repeatedly. However, the mentor should engage mentees in classroom activities depending on their intellectual ability and age. This will ensure that the content delivered in classrooms is inclined towards mentee’s ability. In this case, mentors will be in a position to model mentees’ language, numeracy, cognitive and literacy skills in a more effective way.
That notwithstanding, classroom guidance will enable respective teachers to identify various weaknesses of mentees and consequently make appropriate intervention (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). It is factual that, when mentees are engaged in management activities in classroom, their behavioral challenges are minimized. This can be achieved through curriculum differentiation where the mentee is made to participate in the fields of interest and the content knowledge they have about a particular activity in classroom. Needless to say, observations conducted in classrooms indicate that when mentors engage new concepts with mentee’s real-life experiences, they tend to understand the given concept better (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). Moreover, this ensures that mentees are kept away from off-task behaviors that are likely to distract them from their activities. Apparently, when mentees are engaged in answering and asking questions in classroom they develop desirable behavior (Sprick et al. (2009). Differentiating learning in classroom enhance the mentee to acquire various strategies in good study methods. Such include listening, note-taking, lesson planning and presentation of class work (Subban, 2006).
The mentees believe that mentorship help them to develop a high self-esteem. Besides this, mentorship facilitates the development of confidence; an essential factor for the success of their career. This statement is absolutely true from the fact that mentorship programs shape mentees to become future leaders. It is evident that, mentors impart requisite skills, knowledge, experience and training to mentees through learning activities (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). Individuals who are being mentored are molded in a gradual process and thus get exposed to issues that were initially strange to them. Through the skill, knowledge and experience, mentees are able to solve problems around them with ease. In the long run, their self confidence and esteem are boosted. For instance, a survey conducted in public schools in Texas revealed that teachers who engaged their mentees in certain activities cultivate a positive altitude toward the mentees (Sprick et al., 2009). It was also deduced that, mentees also gain confidence to interact in classroom activities such as answering and asking questions. Engaging mentees in observation and demonstrations increases their handling skills. A clear example is when mentees are involved in preparing and performing experiments in laboratories. Such an activity motivates and inculcates skills that they later apply in their life careers. On the same note, teachers also utilize mentorship programs to clarify learning goals (Barrera, Braley & Slate, 2010). By so doing, they sincerely assist their mentees to devise strategies in which they use to advance their careers. Mentorship also assists students on how to go about developing short -term career objectives (Burney et al., 2009). It is imperative to note that, through mentorship, targeted mentees are eventually well equipped with managerial skills. From the above information, we can deduce that mentoring is a tool in which mentors nurture mentors to grow in a more responsible way. Through these programs, mentees are able to explore and exercise new encounters and thus promote spontaneous learning (Sugai & Horner, 2002). According to researchers, mentorship programs are the cornerstone for capacity building in mentees (Burney et al, 2009). This implies that, mentees’ abilities are modeled and developed through instructions, coaching and pieces of advice offered to them by their mentors (Beutel & Spooner-Lane, 2009). Finally, mentees who are being mentored get new insights and perspectives toward life. Therefore, the entire mentoring process provides an opportunity for individual self-development.
In particular, the phenomenological research approach enables exploration of lived experiences to expose the current theory as well as make some contributions towards it. According to Chamaz (2006), any theory must have a ground in which its assumptions are based. In this case, he asserts that researchers should follow certain steps that are essential in the field of research. He came up with a principle of grounded theory that is very intricate especially when conducting qualitative research. This theoretical approach is essential specifically when researching mentorship programs in schools (Charmaz, 2006). For instance, considering all observable facts and oral descriptions from mentees and teachers mentor, researchers will be able to devise sound objective conclusions on their experiences. Use of grounded theory in research enhances vast and substantive exploration on the current and future challenges of mentorship programs in schools (Charmaz, 2006).
It is evident that, most districts in Texas face acute shortage of teacher mentors in both public and private schools. In fact the situation has deteriorated whereby subjects like mathematics and sciences have been adversely affected (Scott et al., 2006). From one of the recent empirical research on mentorship program in Texas, it is evident that there is a huge and growing gap between the ratio of arts and science teachers in both private and primary schools (Rautwein & Ammerman, 2010). This has been attributed by the fact that the state is unable to recruit a substantial number of teachers who specialize on such lessons.
In the recent past, mentee perception of mentoring program effectiveness has been national issue that concerns all teachers at all levels (Hudson, 2010). This is due to the fact that, certain mentees perceive mentoring as punishment to them and especially the poor performing mentees (Ewing, 2001). However, due to the significance impacts of mentoring on mentees’ performance, the government has been very keen on the implementation of such programs. In this case, teacher mentors have been provided with guidelines on how to possess skills and knowledge which they later transfer to their mentees in classroom (Hudson, 2010). In this case, increased enrollment of teacher mentees has been perceived to be instrumental in the enhancement of the sufficient teaching staff in the region’s educational system. Mentoring programs have been established to a larger extent in public schools. The aim of these programs is to aid and support novice teachers, thereby increasing retention of new teachers’ turnover. Moreover, this has been meant to increasing the efficacy of new teachers while improving the skills crucial for teacher performance in classroom activities (Putman, 2009). It is notable that, mentoring has rapidly increased throughout the United States since the 1980s. However, mentoring programs have revealed historical deficiencies that result in counterproductive outcomes (Long, 1997). As an example, following the start of mentoring programs in Texas, 47%of public school teacher mentees worked with mentors in their field of specialization (Anon, 2011).
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Burney, J. et al. (2009). Mentoring Professional Psychologists: Programs for Career Development, Advocacy, and Diversity. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(3), 292.
Charmaz, K. (2006).Constructing grounded theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. New York: Sage publishers.
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