Allowing experience to be a two-way street can benefit mentor and mentee. Many job responsibilities are innate, while others are clearly and strategically learned. Treva Jenkins, a second-year Arizona Master Teacher in the Maricopa Unified School District, manages to find an even-keeled balance asOct 02, 2017
Allowing experience to be a two-way street can benefit mentor and mentee.
Many job responsibilities are innate, while others are clearly and strategically learned. Treva Jenkins, a second-year Arizona Master Teacher in the Maricopa Unified School District, manages to find an even-keeled balance as she mentors beginning teachers, while also learning from them.
Jenkins, who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, said she feels fulfilled each time she interacts with her mentees. Her guiding strategy proves effective because she allows the experience to be a two-way street.
“Being a mentor is such a rewarding experience. It’s an amazing feeling to wake up every day with the goal of empowering new teachers to become teacher leaders and to create their own supportive, nurturing and engaging classroom environment,” the Maricopa Wells Middle School educator said. “My mentees are not the only ones who are continuously learning and growing in their profession. As a mentor teacher, I am open to learn from my peers, including my beginning teachers.”
Although distinguished with the Arizona Master Teacher title, Jenkins seeks to enhance her personal craft by participating in professional development. During the 2014–2015 school year, she spent approximately 85 hours in training opportunities offered through the Arizona K12 Center. The sum doesn’t include the time dedicated to one-on-one mentoring, class preparation, nor the additional tasks demanded by district, state and national policy.
Clearly, serving as a formal mentor requires sustained commitment. Fortunately, Jenkins believes the rewards far outweigh the demands.
“We know that many of our new hires will leave the classroom within three years. In urban districts, the numbers are worse. We also know that many teachers leave the profession because of inadequate administrative support and isolated working conditions, among other things. These statistics are quite startling. This is why, now more than ever, it is imperative for all school districts to foster programs for mentor teachers,” she said. “A mentor relationship is one of the most priceless gifts a new teacher can receive over the span of their career,” she claims.
As much effort is demanded by mentors to influence their peers, the end goal continues to be enhancing student learning.
“My role as a mentor has definitely opened my eyes to just how critical it is to support our new teachers on an ongoing basis. Being a mentor to new teachers is the most proficient way to ensure that beginning teachers quickly develop the talents, tools and resources needed to reach the needs of all students and ensure all students are successful,” Jenkins said. “There is clear and consistent research that illustrates that the quality of teachers is the most powerful school-related determinant of student success. I have seen firsthand how mentoring leads to a comprehensive vision for assessing and supporting instructional excellence. Mentoring definitely has the power of transforming education and schools into vibrant learning communities capable of helping all teachers—and all students—succeed.”
Watch a short video about the Arizona Master Teacher Program, which showcases Jenkins’ influence in the Maricopa Unified School District.