Beginning teacher mentoring clarified
A number of questions have been raised by both mentors and new educators regarding the beginning teacher mentoring in schools program.
The formalised mentoring program commenced this year, with the aim of allocating funding to better support identified mentor teachers and new educators in their first year of teaching.
While the funding is new (and very welcome), the programs being run in schools are not. Every state school in Queensland is obligated to undertake an appropriate program to best support teachers new to the profession who are appointed permanently and also in longer term contract/temporary engagements.
Schools determine this program in consultation with mentor teachers and beginning educators to ensure the program meets need at the particular school. The intent of the new funding was not to invent entirely new programs for beginning teachers and their mentors but to allow an enhancement of current programs being undertaken. Examples of enhancement to current programs include, but are not limited to:
- providing in-school time for mentors and new educators to meet
- reducing new educators’ workloads
- allowing professional observation during school hours
- accessing professional development during school hours.
Two areas of concern constantly being raised by QTU members regarding the program are:
- examples of best practice or lack thereof
- transparency in the use of the allocated funding.
After consultation with the QTU, DET has produced an e-newsletter which has been provided to all mentors and new educators in their first 12 months of teaching. This e-newsletter provides an example of a program currently being undertaken in a feature titled “Schools in the mentoring spotlight”. DET has given the QTU a guarantee that an example will be provided in each e-newsletter which is produced, providing schools reviewing their programs with the opportunity to look at what others are doing – in other words, a resource bank.
The QTU is still in discussions with DET to determine an appropriate mechanism to ensure transparency in the use of the allocated funding provided to schools for the program. The QTU will keep members informed as information comes to hand.
You can find more information regarding the program, including the associated funding mechanism and nexus, via http://deta.qld.gov.au/great-teachers/excellence/mentoring.html
As a new educator, if you have concerns regarding the program being run at your school, in the first instance speak with your school Union Representative. If there is no Union Rep at your school, contact Lynn Cowie-McAlister, the QTU officer responsible for pre-service teachers and new educators, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Secretary (New Educators)
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 120 No 8, 13 November 2015, p27
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