Consider The Effect Of A Mentoring Program

by Ami Hicks

Some states have passed early retirement legislation which has caused school districts to take a closer look at how mentor programs could serve the needs of the newly hired staff.

Illinois recently passed an early retirement incentive called 5 + 5. Education professionals with at least 25 years of experience and who have reached a minimum age of 50 may opt to retire.

Research conducted by this writer in 1989 indicated that in Naperville, Illinois, at one high school (2,400 in size) the average age of the teacher was 39 which is consistent with the national average. The study also indicated that two-thirds of the staff had over 18 years of experience.

A national survey indicated that by 1994, 40% of the nation's teachers will go into retirement through attrition. The early retirement legislation combined with normal retirement patterns and district budget constraints, could result in hiring many teachers new to the profession or with minimal experience.

In response to providing assistance to newly hired educators, currently 33 states require teacher induction programs, however, funding is not always available to develop and implement these programs. In the interest of providing high quality education, school districts must also consider providing a high quality training for their new teachers regardless of a mandate.

It is time for school districts to examine their induction programs not only for the new teachers but also for the newly hired who may have some experience.

Consider the following:
1. Does your school district have an induction program which meets the needs of the new teachers. Does the induction program also serve the experienced newly hired teachers.

2. Has your school district determined what the needs are for teachers new to the building.

3. How could a mentor program assist the school district in providing information to the newly hired personnel.

4. How could a mentor program provide the support needed for the complex job of teaching.

The executive board is interested in hearing how you and your school district have been affected by the retirement legislation in your state. Please send us your comments/thoughts/concerns and we will share them with the Mentoring Leadership and Resource Network members.