A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

Assertiveness Helps

Posted by aphillieteacher on November 21, 2009

Everyone new to the district is assigned to a building mentor. This mentor is supposed to help us through the maze of deadlines, paperwork, lesson plans and classroom management. I assume they get a stipend for their effort, which is right.

Unfortunately my mentor is a busy woman. Not only does she mentor me and about 5 other teachers, she teaches the Extended Day program Monday – Thursday after school. This means she is available only on Friday afternoons and her time is divided among all of us.

Panic set in when I realized no one had shown me how to enter grades online. There are many other gaps to what I still need and want to know, but when it comes to essentials like this I get really nervous. At this point I have only this weekend plus a few days to get those grades in.

I sent one email to my mentor. She didn’t see my email until days later. Didn’t have time to answer my questions. Finally I went to an Administrator who took the time to sit with me. *whew* It was a lot easier than I feared but still — I would have preferred avoiding the sweaty palms and wakeful nights worrying if I would get things done in time.

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2 Responses to “Assertiveness Helps”

  1. kdsl said

    Oh my goodness. Your mentor experience is quite different from mine when I was new to a county in Virginia. My mentor was in my building and I interacted with her daily. She was also my grade 4 team leader and very knowledgeable of the workings of the system. We took professional development classes together and collaborated daily. 8 years later we are still in contact and share ideas. I have been a mentor in the past and currently mentor two young men who have recently started their careers in education. Mentors in education are essential but should also be highly effective and have an impact. Sounds like she is stretched. Hope she finds the time to put you and the others first on her list.

    • Wow – your mentor sounds wonderful. Lucky you to stay in touch and have her as a long-term friend.

      I think mentors vary all across the city (Philadelphia School District is huge) What’s crazy is that my mentor is in the classroom next to mine and the most effective way to communicate with her is through email!

      Overall the teachers in my building stay to themselves. In spite of having 60 students every day, I’m pretty lonely at work; I feel like I”m working in a vacuum. It would be so much easier if I could bounce ideas off other teachers and get advice about classroom management.

      Where do you teach now?

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