Retired National Board Teacher Mentors Those Who Foll

by Ann Liechty, April 2008

I am a retired classroom teacher and a Mentor Faculty Trainer for the state of Indiana. In Indiana, our beginning teachers are required to participate in a two-year induction program, with a portfolio due in the 2nd year. Indiana's program was modelled after Connecticut's BEST program and is in its second year of full implementation. A part of the induction program is the requirement for schools to provide trained mentors who have been certified in an approved state program. My program is state-approved and I work with one of the state's regional service centers to offer the training for schools in our area. I call it the F.L.I.G.H.T. Program (facilitating leaders in good habits of teaching). We work with the concept of a flight plan as a metaphor for the instructional process.

I used the instructional process as I developed the program, sequencing the state's mentor standards and developing assessments that would measure and ascertain the veteran teacher's progress in acquiring the skills and mastering the mentor standards. It was quite a daunting undertaking, but I have been pleased with the results and so have the participants in the program (at least the majority - not every veteran teacher takes readily to the challenge).

There are 12 modules that I teach over six full-day sessions. The first three sessions are geared toward involving the veteran teacher in self-assessment and reflection about their own demonstration of INTASC standards in the classroom (they put a mini-portfolio together in the process). The last three sessions are geared toward the needs of the new teacher and the skills the mentor needs to be supportive during the induction period.

For this next session, I am asking my teachers to read and respond to "That Thin Chalk Line" by Dale E. Pforr as a discussion starter in their on-line response groups. This next session focuses on skills for peer coaching and reflective listening. Please visit my website if you'd like: http://www.write-assistant.com