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    It's a mixture of both...
    By sue d.

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    As a young, but experienced mentor teacher, I can offer this opinion: Last year, I mentored a new teacher right out of college. She seemed very nice and eager. I was being paid to help her and also to act as a "practice evaluator." I tried to be her #1 POSITIVE supporter. However, at times, it was very difficult to hear her say, "I know I am a great teacher, but the kids' parents keep writing me mean notes." She continued throughout the year to try VERY hard, but received complaints galore, the high-level children (nice, nice area) were completely confused by her teaching style, and she kept wanting to do her own little projects outside of our curriculum (big testing year no-no). Other teachers complained. The principal tried to offer support and suggestions. The main problem was that because everyone was peppering her with constant positivity, there was no REALITY. Sometimes, there are problems in teaching that have solutions! I know this because each year, I make a list of changes I want to make in my teaching, and each year I get better and better. Now, I'm mentoring and teaching classes on teaching! You can't always think the problems are the childrens' or parents. Okay, so kids and parents are nutty and they are usually to blame. Positive comments are great to hear. They make us feel good about ourselves. Negative comments in the form of suggestions should be used to make us BETTER!

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