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    I've been there!
    By sue d.

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    I've vented about the first year teacher I mentored last year before, but your email brought up those feelings again, so I had to write.

    Last year, I had the "honor" of being trained to become a paid mentor in one of the best school systems in the country. I am a successful teacher, so I indeed felt like I had a lot to share and learn still. My mentee turned out to be a twenty-one year old with a lot of energy and a nice disposition. She and I planned hours of my time to discuss the curriculum, state testing, setting up a room... everything. I loaned her ALL of my hundreds of resource books and files. She had complete access to my bulletin boards, manipulatives and novel sets throughout the year. I even parted with some of my hand-typed unit plans I'd developed for each subject. I took her out to dinner to "relax" her. I had an "open door" policy. I could go on, but let's just say that I was a generous and helpful mentor, letting her have her space too.

    I won't list all of her problems, but in one year, she managed to enrage the parent community, get low evaluations and alienate all of the teachers that could have helped her. She didn't seem to understand basic principals of teaching. After hours of help, having her observe award winning teachers, and helping her BEGIN a management system (she didn't think she needed one because she "created a posittive and nurturing environment") in March, she still refused to make the changes so politely (with complimentary suggestions only) given to her. This new teacher had the nerve to badmouth our school, the community and even our team of young and old teachers who had tried in vain to help and support her all year long.

    You know where she is now? She left in a huff with a FULL SCHOLARSHIP to a major university for a master's in school administration! The school had accepted her way back when she had first graduated from college. One of you lucky teachers want a twenty-two year old principal with one year of poor teaching experience??? When some people choose to go into teaching because it seems easy or fun and they do not approach it as an academic profession, it is so hard to work with them. Now we may work FOR them in the future!



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