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 Nondirective Approach to
Mentoring (*Glickman, 2002)
The nondirective approach invites mentees to determine and design their own professional development program. This approach is ideal with experienced teachers who possess (a) a sophisticated knowledge of Judaics, and (b) an abundant knowledge and varied repertoire in teaching and learning. These highly self-motivated professionals do not need any direction from the mentor (unless requested) as to what staff development initiatives would best serve them, their students, and the learning outcomes of the schools.
Sample Dialogue Between the Mentor Teacher (MT) and the Mentee (M)
MT: “Mrs. Keller, having taught at our school for the past ten years, and having received excellent ratings, I'm wondering what your professional goal or goals for the year are, and what we can do to help you achieve those goals.”
M: “Thank you, Dr. Solomon for your words of encouragement. Are you sure you don't want me to work on any specific school outcomes as we have discussed in the past?”
MT: “Mrs. Keller, I assure you that I have no hidden agenda. I truly want to know what you’d like to achieve this year as your professional goal, and what we can do to assist you.”
M: “Well, I’d really like to get greater parent involvement in what I’m teaching their children.”
MT: “You say greater involvement of the parents. What do you mean by that?”
M: "Well, I mean, I'd like to see the parents or guardians reinforce at home what I’m teaching their children in class.”
MT: “That sounds like a great idea. What specifically could you do to make that happen?”
M: “Well, I'm not sure. Perhaps I'll send the parents and guardians a letter explaining what I intend to do this year, and suggest a number of things that they can do to assist me.”
MT: “Mrs. Keller that's a wonderful idea? Would you like to write the first draft of that letter to parents and have me edit it? What else can I do to assist you?”
M: “Dr. Solomon, I'll write the first draft of the letter, and then I'll get back to you. Okay?”
MT: “That sounds great. Throughout the year we can discuss ways of engaging parents and guardians in the Jewish education of their children. This might include parent involvement in classroom and home-based activities or a special evening meeting at the school for the parents and guardians of your students. If you like, we can co-facilitate that session. Before we conclude our conference, I have one question for you, Mrs. Keller, how am I going to assess your professional growth during the year?”
M: “Oh, Dr. Solomon, that's no problem. I'll use the Professional Reflection Log to document the interventions, and my personal learnings throughout the school year. Each quarter I'll share my reflection log with you, and you can offer your feedback and comments.”
MT: “That's a wonderful idea. I'm really looking forward to working with you on this project this year.”
M: “Me, too.”
* 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 introduce five different types of post-observation conferences developed by M. Hunter.