Maine teachers new to the profession are required to have a mentor for two years. Those new to a district are required to have a mentor for one year. While discussions surrounding teacher recruitment are essential, it is also important to understand how we best retain the educators we have.

Understand Mentee’s Background

Traditional Teachers
Traditional Teachers likely went through a traditional educator preparation program and have a professional certificate. While they have met all requirements to be professionally certified, they may need support in putting theory into practice.

Experienced Teachers
Experienced Teachers are likely coming from another district. They may need more support around school culture and meeting the needs of the students in the new placement.

Alternative Pathway Teachers
In addition to professional certificates, Maine has Conditional and Emergency Certificates. Those holding conditional certificates have met some of the requirements for professional certification and will reasonably meet all requirements in 3 years. Those with emergency certificates are filling a shortage area and may not have classroom experience or preparation. They may need more direct supports in course work or principles that are learned in educator preparation programs.

“Without my mentor, I don’t think I would’ve made it through my first year.”
Lily Withington
Portland Public Schools

Mentor Responsibilities

Share your experience/areas of expertise/professional goals
This builds trust in a relationship that requires vulnerability. It also models that all educators are engaged in professional growth, regardless of experience.

Set realistic expectations
Share with your mentee the New Teacher Center’s Phases of First-Year Teaching. Using this information, notice how important support will be October – February.

Provide routine support, advice, and feedback
In addition to scheduling formal meetings, be sure to be a person who checks in with your mentee. Sometimes organic conversations are the most valuable.

Facilitate conversations with wrap-around supports
Share what supports are available for students, but also work to schedule times to include them in your meetings with your mentee. This is especially important when it comes to supporting your mentee around special education services.

Review school procedures and expectations
This includes giving them a sense of the school’s culture. What does the community value? What does staff value? What do students value?

Assist in developing and maintaining documentation for recertification
Visit MEA’s teacher recertification guidance.

Conduct at least 2 observations utilizing coaching cycle
Use a data observation technique to intentionally focus your observation.

Provide opportunities for the mentee to observe you
Have your mentee facilitate a pre and post conference.