Mentorship programs are becoming increasingly popular in school districts in British Columbia. Much of the success we’ve had in this area can be attributed to the hard work of the “New Teacher Mentoring Project”, which as been a joint venture from the British Columbia School Superintendents’ Association; the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and the University of British Columbia.
While Saanich did not qualify for any funding from this group, we have received a tremendous amount of support and guidance in forming our own mentorship program. In the 2014-15 school year, we offered a pilot program and supported 5 mentor teams. Our initiative was jointly funded: 50% from the School Board Office and 50% from the Saanich Teachers’ Association.
Teachers were partnered and encouraged to work on an inquiry project that would lead the mentee teacher to a greater sense of knowledge and comfort with teaching. Projects were “grassroots” and inquiry-based and were designed by the teams themselves to meet the individual needs of the new teachers in the program.
Our inaugural group was quite eclectic. We had representation from elementary, middle and secondary teachers. In addition we had representation from classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, distance learning teachers and learning services teachers. The participants were all extremely happy with the level of autonomy in the program as well as the level of support. We all felt we struck a nice balance between those two opposites!
For the 2016-17 school year, we will be running another mentorship cohort. If you are interested in applying, please download the guidelines and application package below! The due date is January 16, 2017.