The Louis Riel School Division believes in supporting its employees, especially beginning teachers. Our innovative Mentorship Program is designed to assist first and second-year teachers as they embark on a new and adventurous career.
The Division recognizes that new teachers have specific needs and is committed to addressing them. By helping its beginning teachers, the Division is developing a strong network of educators who can positively influence student learning.
The benefits of mentoring are immeasurable. The Division experienced mentors take teachers from "beginning" to "exceptional".
Through divisional orientation, beginning teachers become familiar with LRSD priorities and policies. They also develop a sense of professional community---an essential resource for all teachers.
Each beginning teacher is matched with an experienced teacher who teaches at the same level. Arrangements are made for beginning teachers to spend one day observing the experienced teacher in his or her classroom, sharing materials and strategies.
In-school "Buddy" System
Beginning teachers are paired with experienced teachers within the same school. These connections develop collaborative teams for beginning teachers within their schools. This in-school "buddy" provides support and collegiality and shares school-specific information about procedures and policies.
Professional Development Opportunities
The Mentorship Program offers specific professional development opportunities for beginning teachers throughout the year. Topics include start-up procedures, the first days of school, managing a class with procedures and routines, lesson planning with differentiated instruction, dealing with difficult people, assessment and evaluation, collaboration, parent communication and others.
Professional Dialogue Sessions
Experienced teachers facilitate group discussions with expertise in teaching strategies, classroom management and behaviour, curriculum and more. Discussion groups are level-specific for Early, Middle, and Senior Years or specialists.
A mentor's familiarity with a beginning teacher's students and classroom focus subsequent discussions. Mentor participation in the classroom fosters comfort between all parties. It is considered one of the most important components of the Louis Riel School Division Mentorship Program.
Personal Goal Setting and Planning
Ongoing professional growth is essential for all teachers. Mentors assist new teachers to set, plan and implement their annual goals.
Instructional and Collegial Support
This program component is based entirely on the specific needs of the beginning teacher. Examples include:
- Accessing various school teams
- Dealing with difficult people
- Curriculum planning
- Developing instructional/assessment strategies
- Writing IEPs and behaviour plans
- Managing time
Journal writing is encouraged to document personal and professional growth and is a useful tool for action research.