You’ve probably heard about how important it is for teachers to have a high quality mentors—and it is. But even the best mentors can get busy or not feel like quite the right person to turn to in a given situation. If the mentor assigned to you isn’t a perfect fit—and even he or she is—always remember that as a new teacher you don’t just need one mentor. You need a whole “board of advisors.” Most of these will be people you select yourself, and you’ll check in with different advisors in different situations. Here’s who should be on your board of teaching advisors.
1. Someone who gives great all-around advice.
How do you know? Think about how you feel afterwards. If advice makes those Sunday-night stomach cramps worse, it’s not the advice you need, or at least not the advice you need right now. Good advice is comforting rather than overwhelming. And it’s clear enough to put it into practice.
2. Someone whose teaching style you admire.
You don’t necessarily need to confide in this person – in fact, you may even find them a bit intimidating. The main thing you want is permission to watch them teach and ask questions as needed.
3. Someone who teaches a similar subject.
From this person, you want lesson ideas, lesson plans, and maybe help troubleshooting your lesson plans.
4. Someone who teaches similar students – or even the same students.
This can be the same person you talk lesson planning with, but it doesn’t have to be. If you teach remedial biology, it can be helpful to get lesson plans from an AP bio teacher, but you may be better off holding strategy sessions with a remedial English teacher.