Archive for Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mentor benefits

June 16, 2012


To the editor:

Gov. Koch–Brownback vetoed mentor-teacher bonuses. There is, arguably, no other single model that results in greater teacher improvement and development than teacher mentoring.   

When successful, experienced teachers spend hours each week coaching, modeling techniques, assisting, demonstrating, observing and recoaching new or struggling teachers, student learning improves. Teachers who benefit from this model are much less likely to leave the profession within their first five years of teaching.  

When new student-learning models are introduced building- or districtwide, teacher mentoring is by far the most effective way to make sure the model is implemented effectively.  The broad body of research is solidly positive on this intervention for school improvement.

Successful teacher-mentors still must manage, prepare for, teach and evaluate each of the students in their own classrooms. These professionals deserve increased pay. When scales do not provide for such pay, bonuses are an effective option.

The business community insists that schools must implement merit pay. This is a form of professional growth pay that works. School districts where effective teacher-mentoring programs are in place have teacher, administrator, board of education and parental approval.  No single intervention solves all problems, and that is no excuse for ending those that work best.

Fund teacher mentoring, unless your objective is to ensure that public education fails.


cato_the_elder 5 years, 8 months ago

Good teachers voluntarily engage in "teacher mentoring" every day. It's been a staple of effective American public education for over 150 years, and until recently nobody ever asked to get paid for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

In Cato's world, only public employees are expected to do extra work for nothing.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 8 months ago

Bozo, many teachers are insulted at the notion that what they consider to be their professional duty to impart to younger teachers from experience - and have in fact done for decades during regular working hours - requires extra meetings that accomplish nothing, whether or not "bonuses" are paid. If you knew anything about the teaching profession, you'd understand that. The writer of this letter probably also supports "teacher collaboration," which is a colossal waste of time.

tomatogrower 5 years, 8 months ago

"Fund teacher mentoring, unless your objective is to ensure that public education fails."

You pinned the tail on the donkey, hit the nail on the head, pointed out the obvious. This is exactly their plan. They can't stand something that doesn't exist to make a profit. I wonder what schools will be like when they are private. "Come to our school and your child will earn all "A's"." Of course, they might not learn to read and write, but their grades will be good. "Come to our school and your children will never have to meet a person of color, or a person with disabilities." Of course, that's not preparing people for real life, is it?

The only accountability private schools will have is the parent. Of course, there are parents who will pay attention to what's happening, there are plenty of good parents left, but what about those kids with bad parents? They're just losers anyway, right? Just another way to make your socio economic status hereditary. Many conservative leaders would love that.

Ragingbear 5 years, 8 months ago

If Dolphins are so smart, then why do they live in Igloos?

P Allen Macfarlane 5 years, 8 months ago

I know something about the teaching profession because I am a middle school teacher. The work load of every teacher I know is almost overwhelming. I often spend anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a day just getting the things together my kids need either for the next day or the email to parents, or the grading that always needs doing. Asking a teacher to spend extra time mentoring new or struggling teachers without compensation is not reasonable, especially considering the low pay that is typically offered teachers by school districts. Would you expect doctors or lawyers to volunteer their time to mentor a struggling or beginning colleague without compensation? I don't think so.

George Lippencott 5 years, 8 months ago


Somebody has to pay for these benfits. Maybe the reference suggests why people support Mr. Brownback even though many are sure that this type of program is a positive contributor.

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