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Mentoring for beginning teachers

To the Editor:

Iowa state legislators need to be persuaded to financially support full-release mentoring for beginning teachers. This program shifts new teacher training duties to veteran teacher coaches who spend each school day working with novice teachers.

Currently, the Iowa teacher mentor program assigns a veteran teacher to a novice teacher without clearly set goals, duties, and assessment for the mentor. In small school districts, a core subject novice may be assigned to an elective mentor or an elementary novice with a secondary mentor. Unfortunately, a mentor can receive compensation with little contact with the novice. Most mentor training by the AEA is merely material that the new graduate was taught in college. No one is actually entering the classroom to assist the new teacher.

A survey by ISU doctoral students found that veteran educators and administrators often discouraged new teachers from using effective instructional practices. It is important that superintendents assign someone to monitor mentors and principals who are being paid to help beginning teachers.

Julie Stewart Ziesman

Waukee

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