Setting Up An Effective Mentor Program
Vol. 15 No. 1
With the start of a fresh school year comes the opportunity to incorporate new programs and incentives for your faculty and staff. If your culture doesn’t already incorporate a mentoring program, we strongly encourage you take advantage of the new academic year to instill one. The benefits greatly outweigh the pains of initiation.
Step One: Identify possible mentors.
Look for those faculty and staff who embody your school’s mission and work with excellence and dedication. Research suggests that cross-generational mentoring pairs are most successful. (1) However, mentors don’t have to be from your school’s senior employee pool. Look for candidates that truly live your mission, exercise active listening, and who are open to both personally growing and encouraging others to find their unlocked potential.
Step Two: Have expectations in writing.
Your school doesn’t have to create a formal mentor program that is included in teacher contracts. However, it is a good idea to clearly define the mentoring role and boundaries expected in a written form in addition to conversations. Pairings should be committed for the entire school year
Step Three: Create a “check-in” process.
This process is designed to monitor progress for mentors and mentees. You’ll want to monitor growth throughout the year to chart how the relationship is growing as well as how each individual is. Successful mentoring programs are built to be flexible. Goals that were set in the beginning of the year will probably shift and evolve. However, milestones that are reached deserve acknowledgment. By charting progresses you’ll capture a clearer picture of strengths, weaknesses, goals, and what needs to be fine-tuned in your mentoring program to strengthen it.
Step Four: Plan a method for gathering program-exit feedback.
Although you’ve been communicating with mentor teams throughout the year and charting progresses, you’ll want to have a closure process ready for the end of the commitment period (typically the school year). Both the mentor and mentee should reflect on their experiences and provide insight for the next mentoring season.
Step Five: Celebrate mentoring successes!
Bring energy to your program! Recognize participants, milestones reached, and spotlight success stories. This not only reinforces the active participant’s time and energy into your program, but also encourages others to take part in years to come.
Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 9 No. 9 Are You a Reluctant (or Unwilling) Mentor?
The Source for School Heads Vol. 12 No. 4 How to Be More Than A Leader—Be A Mentor
The Source for School Heads Vol. 10 No. 9 Coaching the Coaches and Mentors
- According to Modern Workforce's "Cross-Generational Mentorship: Why Age Should Be No Object"