BEAVERTON, Oregon (AP) -- States from Oregon to Georgia are considering pouring millions of dollars into mentoring programs for new teachers, aiming to stop educators from spending just a few years in the classroom before leaving the field.
Researchers estimate as many as 50 percent of teachers nationwide will leave the profession within their first five years on the job, fed up and frustrated.
So says CNN.com.
California is mentioned positively for its mentor program, known mostly as BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support something). When done well, I guess BTSA could be a big help to people. When I was a rookie, I team-taught with an English teacher, a social studies teacher, and a fellow rookie science teacher. There was no formal mentoring, but I got all the help I needed from those teachers around me. Sometimes I see what BTSA mentors want their "charges" to do, and it seems like so much extraneous paperwork to me. I had enough to do without all the extra writing, "reflecting", discussing, etc.
I help the rookies--or anyone else, for that matter--whenever they ask, or whenever their stories indicate that I might have something to offer them. Informal collaboration is part of professionalism, and it's part of being a good, helpful person as well. If BTSA-like programs can help keep people in the profession, people who might otherwise leave for correctable reasons, then I'll give them two thumbs up. It's too bad we have to do something formal, though; it's too bad that all teachers can't start in the collaborative, helpful, mentoring environment like that in which I started.
And before you think that I started teaching at some suburban middle-class school, I assure you it was not. There were some exceptional professionals teaching there, though.