Objective of the Planning or Pre-Observation Conference:
To determine the professional development needs of the mentee while addressing the learning needs of the mentee's students and the learning outcomes of the school.
Assumption: The mentor and the mentee have concluded their preliminary introductory remarks.
The Directive-Informational Approach to Mentoring (*Glickman, 2002)
The directive-informational approach invites mentees to select a professional development program from a set of options presented by the mentor. This approach is ideal for pre-service, novice, and beginning teachers who possess (a) an elementary knowledge of Judaics, and (b) an elementary knowledge, and limited repertoire in teaching and learning. These highly self-motivated mentees do not yet have the knowledge base or experience to determine what staff development initiatives would best serve them, their students, and the learning outcomes of the school.
Sample Dialogue Between the Mentor Teacher (MT) and the Mentee (M)
MT: “Mrs. Keller, before I observe your class, let's talk about your professional goals for the year. Can you tell me more about what you’d like to achieve this year?”
M: “Well, Dr. Solomon, I have two goals. I want to smoothly integrate Judaics into my teaching, and have fewer disciplinary problems this year.”
MT: “Mrs. Keller, integrating Judaics and reducing disciplinary problems are two excellent instructional and classroom management goals for the year. Let's talk about how you might accomplish those goals. Have you considered using Judaic knowledge like the middah, derech eretz, or kavod, as the foundational concept for your classroom disciplinary plan?”
M: “Not really. Can you explain to me how that would work?”
MT: “Of course. You can begin the year by explaining to your students that Jewish education is different from public education in that it is based on Jewish virtues or middot, such as derech eretz (showing civility toward others) or kavod (showing respect for others). Then you can do a lesson on how a particular middah, such as derech eretz, is reflected in your classroom. That is, you could facilitate a classroom discussion on what derech eretz would look and sound like if a parent or teacher came into your room.”
M: “That's a great idea. It would hit both of my goals. But exactly how would I do that?”
MT: “Well, we have several choices, I could describe to you now how I would do it, or I could do a demonstration lesson in your class. What would be most helpful to you?”
M: “With all due kavod to you Dr. Solomon, I'd prefer that you tell me how you would teach this lesson, rather than have you demonstrate it in my class. Frankly, I don't want my students to see me as being a novice teacher, even though I know that I am.”
MT: “That's not a problem. Here is what I would do ....”
M: “Thank you, Dr. Solomon; I'm going to practice this lesson with my first class, and then invite you to observe my second class.”
MT: “Mrs. Keller that sounds great. During the orientation meeting in August, we distributed the teacher handbook in which there were listed several observation instruments. What instrument would you like me to use?”
M: “Dr. Solomon, would you mind using the one with the three columns, time, observation, and comments, and focus your observation on how I taught the middah, derech eretz? I'd like your feedback on two issues: Was I clear in explaining derech eretz, and were my students able to describe what derech eretz should sound and look like in my classroom. Can you do that?”
MT: “That's exactly what I will do. Thank you, Mrs. Keller.”
* Glickman, C. D. (2002). Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed.Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
On the next post we will describe the Collaborative Approach to Mentoring (Glickman, 2002).