How mentorship contributes to a culture of learning
Successful mentorship programs support the continuous learning of all teachers. In addition to improving the experience of mentees, mentorship programs also benefit mentors. These more experienced teachers often find renewed satisfaction in the significance of their work when given the opportunity to articulate and critically examine their practice as part of the mentoring relationship.
Mentorship builds relationships whereby experienced colleagues provide dedicated time to guide, model, support, give feedback and facilitate evidence-informed learning conversations with colleagues who are new to the profession, an assignment or to a community.
High-quality teacher mentorship gives educators the space and time to engage in deep listening, explore reflective, intentional conversations, and consider evidence that illuminates what’s working for students and what needs attention.
Mentorship programs offer numerous benefits
- Mentorship programs serve many roles, including:
supporting new professionals entering the system,
- helping retain teachers and reduce the attrition rate of new teachers, which some studies suggest can be as high as 25 to 30 percent,
- supporting teachers recently hired into specialist positions to help them implement best practices,
- familiarizing teachers with a community culture and practice, including that of Indigenous communities and
- introducing teachers to the new ways of teaching and learning that are foundational to the new curriculum.
Mentorship by the numbers
Mentorship programs have an impact on everything from teacher satisfaction to student learning. Evaluation results of the New Teacher Mentoring Project – a three-way partnership between the BCTF, UBC and the BC School Superintendents’ Association – showed that:
- 96% of mentors indicated that their mentees’ classroom practice improved
- 90% of mentees believed their classroom practice improved
- 92% of mentors noted their own classroom practice improved
- 95% of mentees indicated that their student outcomes improved
[Image: Growing a Culture of Collective Responsibility for Induction and Mentorship]
The value of mentorship and the support of the provincial New Teacher Mentorship Program to Vancouver Island West cannot be overstated. We are a remote rural district with one of the highest percentages of new teachers (less than five years’ experience). Our mentorship program provides our new teachers, teaching in very challenging environments, the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and learn from colleagues throughout the district. Utilizing technology to overcome geographic isolation, the mentorship program is highly valued as an opportunity to overcome the isolation of teaching in a rural/remote school environment.— Travis Lapoint, Stephen Larre & Lukas Mudge
SD 84 Vancouver Island West Vice-Principal, District Principal, and VIWTU President