Book Review

New Teacher Mentoring

Hopes and Promise for Improving Teacher Effectiveness

by Ellen Moir, Dara Barlin, Janet Gless and Jan Miles, Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2009, 248 pp., $29.95 softcover

In the golden age of education, an administrator would find a breathing teacher candidate, hire him or her on the spot, provide a classroom key, lesson plan and gradebook, and wish the teacher well with a promise to see him or her in the spring. Then the administrator would return to whatever crisis prevailed at the time.

New Teacher Mentoring

Ah, the good old days seem like only yesterday!

According to the authors of New Teacher Mentoring this method of mentoring and professional development doesn’t qualify as a best practice. For a teacher to provide the best learning environment to all students, the teacher must feel what students crave — a sense of security and well-being, of being nurtured, loved and supported.

This book combines theory and practice to enable educators to ensure success for new teachers and to renew current practitioners. How much does it cost to attract, hire, train and equip a new teacher? For this investment to pay dividends, it is imperative to keep the best and brightest in the profession.

Supporting new teachers has its obvious benefits, including increasing morale among existing staff. Many educators understand child development and learning, but few have been exposed to the needs of adult learners, whose abilities, needs and motivation differ from those of K-12 students. As leaders, we need to refocus mentoring to retain new teachers so they remain in our profession.

Other benefits of better teacher induction promised by the authors: increased effectiveness, reduced staff turnover, quality teaching and a positive environment. Sign me up!

Reviewed by Jim D. Hattabaugh, educational consultant, Fort Smith, Ark.