Mentoring program starts anew in District 518WORTHINGTON — Studies show that nearly half of all teachers leave the profession within their first five years of teaching.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Studies show that nearly half of all teachers leave the profession within their first five years of teaching.
District 518 hopes to change that with the revival of its Teacher Induction program, a longtime initiative that been reformalized this year and last.
The K-12 program aims to retain new teachers by providing the training and support they need to be successful in their new school.
Through the mentoring component of the program, those teachers considered “new-to-the-profession” are matched with veteran instructors who use the same curriculum or teach the same subject matter as their mentees. According to documents provided by the district, mentors are expected to keep in regular contact with their mentees, and are given a list of talking points to broach with their mentee throughout the year.
New teachers develop their own teaching styles while gaining insight into classroom management, communication with parents, student motivation and assessment, and more through conversations with their mentors.
This year, there are 18 new teachers involved in the program. But the initiative also extends to non-tenured teachers starting their second and third year in the district, as well as new veteran teachers. They join the mentored teachers for short seminars throughout the year and can choose to have a mentor of their own.
In short, said Coordinator of Teaching and Learning Tammy Timko, those new to the district stay in the program in some form until they are tenured.
Timko said holding on to teachers is important for both student achievement and the district’s finances.
“(If) we’re always bringing in new teachers, that costs the district a fair amount of money to train new teachers. So it’s a money issue and a quality issue,” she said.
It costs the district an estimated $5,000 to hire and train a new teacher, compared with the maximum $600 stipend paid to mentors. In a January Daily Globe column describing the program, Timko also wrote that “new teachers who start their career with support and encouragement from experienced teachers are more likely to positively affect student achievement.”
Stacy Dibble and Zach Dingmann, both fifth-grade teachers at Prairie Elementary, are one of the district’s mentor-mentee relationships. Dibble is in her 21st year of teaching and her sixth at Prairie. Dingmann is new to the district, but has two years of teaching experience in Las Vegas.
“Mainly the relationship is helping him to navigate our school,” Dibble said “He’s not exactly a rookie where we have to talk about starting in the classroom; it’s more ‘where do you find paperwork?’ and ‘how do I manage the schedule?’
“I think if they didn’t have a mentor it would be frustrating for them,” Dibble added. “It’s such a big school, and just starting out you maybe don’t have all the tricks of the trade that maybe a teacher would have.”
Dingmann said the mentorship has definitely helped him, especially learning “where to get resources, how the school is run, and where to go to get things,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to have a person that’s a go-to person.”
“It’s a very positive program,” said Dibble, whose classroom is next door to Dingmann’s. “There’s a lot of passion and excitement (among) new teachers.”