The importance of quality mentoring
Mentoring relationships – whether formal or informal – can be some of the most important support networks for newer teachers.
Access to quality mentoring is often cited as a critical measure in supporting early career teachers to succeed in the profession – and to avoid the beginning teacher five-year attrition rate (reported to be as high as 50%).
Teacher Magazine research identified the elements of successful mentoring:
- orientation – e.g. understanding procedures regarding school policy and expectations;
- wellbeing – e.g. colleagues providing support to prevent new teachers from feeling alone and isolated;
- professional practices – e.g. leadership contact and commitment, opportunities to study teaching with common planning time and the chance to share and reflect on teaching practices; and
- professional identity – e.g. access to a network of teachers, inclusion as part of the team within the school.
Our union understands the importance of mentoring and has launched a pilot program to connect early career teacher members with experienced teachers in our sector.
The program, which is currently available to members located in South East Queensland, supports mentor and mentee pairs to meet once per term at union facilities.
Mentors have received training on best-practice methods to support early career teachers through the varied professional issues they face.
Program Coordinator and IEUA-QNT Research Officer Adele Schmidt said the sharing of knowledge by experienced staff was foundational in a collegiate profession like teaching.
“Unfortunately, feedback from members tells us that schools do not always provide effective mentoring arrangements for beginning teachers.
“Our union’s program is not intended to replace employer-led mentoring arrangements in schools, but rather it seeks to provide quality mentoring experiences to teachers who would otherwise not have access.”
How to get involved
If you are located in South East Queensland and interesting in participating in the pilot Mentoring Program this year, please complete this expression of interest survey.
Access to mentoring is just one of the ways our union supports early career teacher members.
Other key membership benefits include access to online professional development and scheduled workshops in various locations; access to expert industrial advice and support; professional insurance to protect against workplace risk; collective bargaining representation and a voice at work on the issues that matter most to members.
Join our union or encourage your colleagues to join at www.qieu.asn.au/join