The Importance of Having a Teacher Mentor

According to Rabbi Johnathon Sacks, “Lifting others, we ourselves are lifted.” We are all in this together in the context of a collaborative educational community. Every  teacher can create  academic excellence through their own commitment to growing as both an educator and a learner, lifting and being lifted.   

The process of improvement through mentoring enables teachers to share their skills and grow together meaningfully. Over the course of their career, each educator should have the opportunity to be both a mentor and a mentee.

We all need a teacher mentor who we can be open and accountable to, can guide us in areas where we need growth, and also point out blind spots where we may not recognize our own faults. Each of us also needs to be a mentor to someone else, being committed to their learning and growth.

Mentoring relationships can be as simple as asking someone for their guidance, speaking regularly, and sharing lessons learned through strengths and failures. A mentoring conversation can happen over a school lunch break, a walk, or woven into a daily or weekly regular activity.

Having a mentor is an opportunity to focus on acting with values within a robust ethical education system. A school day is filled with lots of ethics-related questions and a mentor can help teachers to morally align decisions. 

For example, a geography teacher might need to make an ethics-related choice about which countries to focus on or a science teacher has ethical decisions to make regarding the venue, groups and material availability for a science fair.

When we become accountable to each other and come together as communities, we make our schools safer for children.

Here are some questions to consider as you create your action plan:

  • Do you have a teacher mentor? If not, who are some potential people in your life you can request to mentor you?
  • How much time a week can you set apart for yourself to meet your mentor? When will you meet on a regular basis?
  • Are you mentoring someone? Who are some teachers in your life that could do with support and encouragement? How can you initiate this relationship? How much time a week could you give to this, and when can this happen?

Learn more about mentoring in the new Professional Learning Board online PD course: Ethical Conduct in Education.

About the Author
Ellen Paxton is a respected expert in education and best known as the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two-time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully published and customized online professional development courses and Learning Management Systems for 20 years to help teachers meet their state continuing education renewal credit requirements. Through, and, Ellen has established solutions and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while setting strategic direction that makes a difference and overseeing implementation of popular online PD for schools.