Thursday, September 16, 2004

I'm baaack!

Finally, finally, I have internet at home once again. What a relief. I'm out of the habit of writing daily, though.

New York schools have a four day weekend this week, due to the Jewish holidays. It's a nice way to ease into the school year, except that at my school we have been in the process of starting up for a month now and I think we are all more than ready for a full, five-day week.

Our new teachers have official, city-provided mentors who will be spending a fair amount of time at our school. One of the mentors is fine, but the other seems to expect the worst of our school and seems to see her role as helping the new teachers versus their administration and colleagues. She has been very demanding of their time, even when they politely told her they had meetings to attend or had agreed to do an observation in another classroom. It might be reasonable if she had made an appointment or set up a schedule with them, but that has not happened yet, so her demands feel very disrespectful of the systems and schedules that we have set up. In some schools, her low expectations regarding the administration might be quite reasonable; there certainly are some schools where new teachers are ignored, undermined, or mistreated. Nevertheless, it has always seemed to me that when entering a new community, you ought to make an effort to find out what it is like and be very respectful so that you create positive relationships right from the start.

It doesn't help that many of us are somewhat suspicious of the mentors due to our own experiences when we were first year teachers. I think mentoring is a great idea for supporting new teachers, but like so many things, it has been poorly implemented. Sadly, this has led to distrust and suspicion among the parties involved. Anyway, we are treating the mentors politely and not saying much in front of our new teachers; I sincerely hope that as they get a feel for how our school operates, the mentors will become a part of our community.


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