How a Teacher Mentorship Program Changed My School

Today I want to share with you a secret that has saved me time, money, stress and many of the headaches we all experience running a center. As the executive director of our center I take on the role of “owner” as well as center director every day. Much like you, I get pulled in every direction and have had my fair share of staffing issues. I hope to share with you something that you can easily apply that, while won’t solve all your current issues, might present some much needed relief at your school.

Many schools have the “floater” teacher that is there for breaks and an extra hand when needed. However, who are you getting to be this floater teacher? 

You are only as good as your worst employee. So, if you are using a young, under qualified, not trained individuals working for a paycheck versus working for their passion, be warned. You are putting yourself and you center at risk if they are one of the first lines of communication with your families; your clients. Remember, we are we are in the TRUST business, so you must ask yourself do you trust them engaging with your parents?

So…What do you do? Here is what I have to offer. Implement a “mentorship program,” and rather than hiring a “floater” hire a “teacher’s assistant in our mentorship program.” It is a philosophical shift in who you hire and how you promote. To start, we are always hiring and looking for the most talented teachers (thank you Vernon Mason!). Even if we don’t have a position open, we all know that an opening is coming, it’s the nature of the beast in this business. If we come across someone we want on our team, regardless of an opening or not, we hire them.

When we hire them, we are sure to let them know exactly what our intentions are. “You are our future and we are making an investment into you. As our newest member we are here to teach you how we as an organization operate, our vison, core values and let you be mentored by all of our teachers before you get your own classroom.” Feels different than being hired to be a “floater,” doesn’t it? And it should because they are much more than that.

We keep one more person on staff part time than our schedule demands. While there is an extra cost involved, there are not many days we find we don’t need an extra person for one reason or another. This opportunity gives us the time to make sure that this newest member gets all of the training they need, is the pressure release valve for our staff (Not Me!), and we get to truly see if they are a good fit for our team or not. Yes, there are some times where they are not needed in a classroom, but that’s my favorite time. I get to spend time with them as well as delegate tasks off of my “to do” list. It helps build the relationship and trust while they learn all aspects of the school. Most importantly, they know they are a teacher and are treated that way. I know I can trust them and so can our families!

I hope you found this useful and as always I’m available for questions and comments.

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