Northwest Scholastic Press and Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association have joined forces to provide mentors for new or nearly new journalism teachers in Oregon. Annual expenses for the program are paid for by the two organizations, so there is no cost to advisers, schools or districts. Donors receive progress reports from our mentors twice each year, and the program is evaluated annually.
Oregon has three trained mentors who work with Oregon advisers throughout the school year. They are Bill Flechtner, who covers the Portland area; Ray Hopfer, who covers the coast and Willamette Valley; Karen Boone, who covers eastern Oregon. All are available for in-person mentoring or long-distance mentoring. Each of them is a graduate of the JEA Mentor Training program.
Those interested in learning more about the program can visit the JEA Mentor Program site. Those in Oregon wishing to join the program as a mentee should contact Bill Flechtner at email@example.com.
The reality of the high school classroom for any beginning teacher – developing effective instructional strategies, applying theoretical knowledge, meeting individual students’ needs, incorporating changing curriculum frameworks, preparing students for high stakes assessment testing, integrating emerging technology, dealing with class management issues, and remaining sensitive to societal issues – may be one of the most challenging transitions faced by teachers in their entire professional careers.
The Mentoring Program helps beginning journalism teachers make a successful transition into journalism teaching by relying on the expertise of veterans to provide a clinical, real-world training process.
Student publication programs thrive with a knowledgeable, supportive adviser who helps students develop a culture of responsible journalism within the school community.
New journalism teachers who are mentored receive higher ratings from their principals, develop better planning skills, handle discipline problems more effectively, conduct more productive classroom discussion, and remain in classrooms longer than teachers who are simply left to “sink or swim.” Veteran teachers who serve as mentors report increased professional revitalization, less isolation, greater recognition, and a belief that they impact the profession more than teachers who are not involved in mentoring new professionals.
The Mentoring Program is designed to…
- Provide on-going training and support for new journalism teachers and/or advisers
- Promote effective teaching and instruction including First Amendment rights and responsibilities.
- Support new journalism teachers so that they will become highly qualified teachers in this field
- Create journalism programs that encourage diversity in classroom and student media
- Utilize the expertise of retired journalism educators with extensive knowledge of journalism and advising and enthusiasm for mentoring
- Encourage development of new journalism teachers professionally and personally, especially through the resources of continued training at workshops, conferences, conventions and classes
- Address needs of new journalism teachers by enhancing their knowledge and skills, thus improving the quality of student learning
- Provide an ongoing support system that is part of the professional learning community at and beyond the new journalism teacher’s school
- To help new teachers/advisers develop good habits of pedagogy in journalism classes and after-school journalism programs (improving teacher practice)
- To retain quality journalism teachers/advisers
- To help build stronger scholastic journalism programs
- Outstanding, knowledgeable advisers who are retired or near retirement
- Recognition as an outstanding teacher who maintains positive peer relations
- Understanding of beginning teacher development
- Ability to discuss assessment information and share instructional ideas and materials with mentees
- Commitment to their own professional growth and learning
- Possession of effective interpersonal and collaborative skills
In order to build a local program to support scholastic journalism advisers, mentors agree to the following:
- Completion of mentor training
- Attendance at mentor training programs at a national convention
- Agreement to communicate regularly with each mentee, including face-to-face meetings during the school year
- Agreement to meet with each mentee’s school administration both to establish the school’s support of the mentorship and also to assist the mentee in establishing an effective setting for the journalism program
- Agreement to do data collection and required record keeping, including semi-annual reports
- Agreement to help secure in-state funding for stipend and miscellaneous expenses.
- Willingness to help with the development of the JEA Mentoring Program.
Role: Mentors will…
- Facilitate the understanding of the responsibilities of a professional teacher based upon the professional teaching standards
- Have effective communication skills and ability to honor confidentiality
- Be familiar with own learning style and the learning style of the mentee, and how his/her learning style affects his/her teaching.
- Guide mentees through demonstrations, observations, and consultations to promote instructional excellence
- Learn and understand district policies and procedures in mentees’ schools
- Provide ongoing support, advice and counsel to mentee
- Understand and use assessments effectively
- Establish a system of ongoing communication with mentee, which can include school visits, phone conversations, texting and e-mailing
- Model and encourage reflection on teaching and advising
- Act as coach, suggesting strategies (when appropriate) relating to planning, time management, discipline, working with parents, etc.
- Act as motivator, helping build the mentee’s confidence through encouragement and inspirational success stories
- Serve as a model of effective teaching and publication advising
- Promote awareness of diversity and inclusion issues for regular classroom instruction and for student media
- Have full command of journalism curriculum
- Suggest procedures necessary for efficiently running a publication staff including daily meetings, staff organization, publication organization, deadlines, staff selection, grading, printer selection, etc.
Selection of Mentors
Mentors are identified and recruited by current in-state mentors.
During the school year, mentors may communicate with their mentees in many ways, but regular face-to-face contact is preferred whenever possible. For each mentor-mentee team, the specific time will vary. The goal is to meet with mentees as often as possible, and we recognize local circumstances like distance may affect this. Mentors can expect their duties to take from ten minutes to several hours per week, per mentee, depending on the needs of the mentee. The mentor should anticipate the following minimum contacts and time commitment
- One introductory face-to-face meeting at the beginning of the relationship.
- A recommended minimum of two informal visits to the mentee’s workplace.
- Face-to-face meetings a needed and appropriate (ideal, but not always possible)
- A minimum of two routine contacts a month
Either mentor or mentee may initiate contacts.
Besides the actual time working with mentees, mentors will need time to document and reflect on their work; record information that will document and demonstrate the growth of their mentees; and research and prepare information that will assist their mentees.
During the school year, mentors will complete semi-annual reports summarizing progress of mentees. At the end of the two-year cycle, the mentor and mentee will decide what type of contact will continue, if any.
There may be circumstances when an assigned mentor may not be able to complete his or her assigned mentoring role. These circumstances may range from events in the life of a mentor, personality conflicts, or professional conflicts. If these circumstances arise, every effort will be made to arrange for an alternate mentor at least by the following school year.
Mentees are recruited by contacting districts through direct mail or other means, meeting new advisers at state and national conventions and by word of mouth of new advisers in schools.
The number of mentees for each mentor may depend on the mentor’s distance from the person’s school and the degree of independence the mentee may exhibit. Mentors are expected to have two mentees each year, but more are allowed.
New mentors should start the first year with two mentees. Mentors already in the field should take on an additional mentees if possible, depending on how many they already have. However, the minimum a mentor is expected to have is two.
- Be the newly assigned or nearly new journalism, media, or publication adviser on campus
- Little or no experience with journalism or advising
- Willing commit to two years of mentoring
Role: Mentees will…
- Be open to receiving suggestions, support, guidance, and constructive criticism
- Have true commitment to the mentoring program
- Establish professional goals with assistance from mentor
- Develop a working knowledge of the state teaching standards with the intent to improve the effectiveness of his/her instruction
- Be willing to take risks, ask questions, and try new ideas
- Establish open communication and honor confidentiality
- Be determined to remain in a journalism position and improve the quality of his/her publication
- Support the journalism-specific mentor program even if the school has an established mentor program in place
- Act in a supportive way with the mentee.
- Provide opportunity for mentee to observe practitioners who are exemplars and will advance the practice of the mentee.
- Provide release time, if funding is available, for mentee to attend journalism workshops, conferences and conventions
- Support the student publication by guaranteeing the students their First Amendment rights
- Evaluate the mentee’s teaching and training of students, not the student publication
In addition, the building administrator is encouraged to attend a journalism convention, conference or workshop with the new journalism teacher/adviser to support that teacher and become better informed about scholastic journalism.