Not sure why you should take advice from veteran teachers? Let me give you nine reasons.
Ms. Sneed Decides to Take Advice from Veteran Teachers
As a newbie, our favorite fourth grade teacher wasn’t sure if she would take advice from veteran teachers. After all, she had fresh training in all the new methods. Furthermore, weren’t older teachers burnt out?
Unfortunately, this didn’t bode well for her. During the first few days of teaching, her lessons fell flat. In addition, she felt disorganized, and her students weren’t very well behaved. Things were beginning to unravel. That’s when she decided to pay a visit to the principal.
As she sat in the chair opposite on the other side of her administrator’s desk, Ms. Sneed squirmed uncomfortably.
“What can I help you with?” asked Mr. Panozzo.
“Well, I think I need some help…”
“Not surprising at all. As a matter of fact, I wanted to talk to you about that. Our district offers mentors to new teachers. Additionally, I’d like to give you a few tips.”
1. Advice from Veteran Teachers Offers Authentic Professional Development
“First,” Mr. Panozzo began, “veteran teachers offer opportunities for authentic professional development. Instead of waiting for training, you can ask them. After all, experienced educators have already been through hundreds of hours of PD.”
“I never thought of it that way,” Ms. Sneed responded.
2. Veteran Teachers Have Experience and Expertise
The principal turned toward his computer. “Just the other day, I was reading an article in Forbes. It claims that you should take advice from people with clear expertise. While all veteran teachers have experience, some have more know-how. When you seek help, it’s important to get it from a successful teacher. Then you’ll know that her guidance will lead you down the right path.”
3. An Experienced Educator Will Mentor You
Mr. Panozzo once again clicked away on his computer. “I’ve saved this link from the NEA. It provides advice for new educators.” Pointing to a section partway down the page, he read:
Find a mentor.
His eyes twinkled. “One of the best things about master teachers,” he said, “is their willingness to mentor new or struggling teachers. As a matter of fact, I’ve already found the perfect advisor for you: Mrs. Brown.”
A small smile crossed Ms. Sneed’s face. Although she had only been at the school a short time, she had already heard about Mrs. Brown. Yes, everyone knew that she was a master at her craft.
“Within the next few days,” the principal continued, “Mrs. Brown will contact you. Then you can begin meeting on a regular basis. Although she will have topics to cover, you can ask questions about anything at any time.”
Ms. Sneed nodded. “That will be so helpful,” she said.
4. You Can Get Organized with Help from Your Teammates
“Unfortunately,” the new teacher said, “I have a few pressing matters. For example, my classroom is not very organized. I’m not exactly sure how to handle the lunch count or my students’ papers.”
“That’s an easy problem to solve. Are you meeting regularly with your fourth grade team?”
Again, Ms. Sneed nodded. “As a matter of fact, we have a meeting this afternoon.”
“Great. Your teammates have gathered lots of great strategies. All you have to do is ask. In a short amount of time, they’ll give you tons of suggestions.”
5. Everyone Needs Support When It Comes to Classroom Management
“What about classroom management?” asked Ms. Sneed.
“Sure, your team can help with that too. As you will find out, even experienced educators struggle with this. It’s an ongoing battle. Over the course of the school year, Mrs. Brown will help you too.”
6. Advice from Veteran Teachers Helps with Lesson Planning
Mr. Panozzo sat back in his chair. “Of course, you’ll also need advise from veteran teachers to plan instruction. I’m sure you learned all about deconstructing standards in your university courses. But in all honesty, it takes time. A lot of time. Fortunately, you’ll collaborate with your teammates. Additionally, they will share lesson plans and instructional materials with you.”
Ms. Sneed looked a little surprised. “My professors made it sound like I’d do it all myself.”
“Lord, no,” the principal chuckled. “It takes a village. I also suggest that you look online for help. As they say, why recreate the wheel.”
Now Ms. Sneed sat back in her chair too. Knowing that she didn’t have to do it all herself surely was a comfort.
7. When Your Evaluation Rolls Around, You Definitely Need Help from Veteran Teachers
Mr. Panozzo tapped his fingers on his desk, deep in thought. “Then,” he finally said. “You’ll need a lot of help with your teacher evaluation.”
That did it. Ms. Sneed sat straight up again.
“Not only will you need advice from veteran teachers when you’re putting it all together. In addition, Mrs. Brown will help you prepare for your observations and organize evidence of effective teaching.”
As he looked at Ms. Sneed, he noticed the worry on her face. “No worries,” he said kindly. “It will all be fine. Just remember that your teacher evaluation is another form of professional development.”
8. And What About Your Work-Life Balance?
After he took a sip of coffee, the principal continued. “New teachers – all teachers – need to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You know, all work and no play make Jane a dull girl. Your mentor will help you limit grading, decorating, and so forth. Additionally, advice from veteran teachers around the school will help.”
9. If for No Other Reason, You Sometimes Need a Shoulder to Cry On
“This makes me feel better,” Ms. Sneed said. “To be honest, in the past few days, I’ve just wanted to go home and cry.”
“That,” Mr. Panozzo said, “is another reason you need veteran teachers. They provide a great shoulder to cry on. As a matter of fact, they have felt the same way.”
With a smile, he added, “Experienced teachers are willing to support you every step of the way.”
Advice from Veteran Teachers Is Priceless
“Teaching is such an isolated job,” Mr. Panozzo continued. “Educators don’t even know what goes on in the classroom next door. Instead, they have to learn from the school of hard knocks – or ask others for help. Believe me, collaborating will help you enjoy teaching.”
For the final time, he clicked around on his computer. “I’ll send you the link to this article from Harvard Business Review. It’s titled ‘The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice.’ I think you’ll find it helpful when you seek advise from veteran teachers.”