6 Quotes for Teacher Mentors

6 Quotes for Teacher Mentors
The Editorial Team March 6, 2013

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Teacher mentor quotes can inspire experienced educators and new teachers alike. Because teaching ranks among the most rewarding, challenging, and (at times) heartrending careers available, a mentor system can make all the difference in the success of a classroom, a teaching environment, or even an entire school.

Here are six quotes for teacher mentors that will help them in their quest to help other teachers.

Make the best match

“When mentors are well-selected, well-trained and given the time to work intensively with new teachers, they not only help average teachers become good, but good teachers become great.”

–Dara Barlin, Education Week

Mentoring makes a big difference in teacher and student lives. Because new teachers are often tossed into less-than-optimal schools and districts with some of the biggest challenges to overcome, they often draw the most benefits from mentors.

Mentor/mentee matches should be appropriate. Teachers with extensive experience in urban high schools might not be as the best mentor for a new teacher in a rural elementary school, for instance.

Simply having the title of “teacher mentor” often isn’t enough. The right type of experience, compassion, and know-how, coupled with an ability to effectively communicate relevant advice, makes a mentor great.

Dare to inspire

“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.”

–Edward Buller-Lyton

Teaching can be a subtle art as well as a science. It is rarely enough hand students their textbooks and let them figure out the material for themselves; the best education is experiential. The best teachers teach humbly, knowing they can learn from their students.

These teachers and mentors also embark on their own lifelong journey of curiosity.

Combine skill and warmth

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

–Carl Jung

Jung makes a cogent point on education: Many new teachers struggle with finding a balance between building a human relationship and sticking to a prescriptive curriculum. Jung recognized that it’s just as important to get involved in students’ lives as it is to implement an effective teaching plan.

Bring the truth

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”

–Dan Rather

Day in and out teaching is exciting and takes someone with passion–and that has everything to do with remembering the dream.

What is it? It has everything to do with getting to know students and encouraging them to a desire to learn. Teacher-mentors can encourage new teachers to embrace this challenge.

Go from ordinary to extraordinary

“The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate ‘apparently ordinary’ people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.”

–Patricia Cross

Mentors can also remind teachers that all of their students have extraordinary potential. Teachers are among the most influential adults in the lives of children, and encouraging them to challenge their potential can and will change their lives.

Help them learn to teach themselves

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”

 –Robert M. Hutchins

Someone else put it this way: “A teacher’s job is to make himself or herself increasingly unnecessary.” This is a fantastic summation. The most essential skill a teacher can pass along is also among the most difficult: the ability to learn. Once students know how to teach themselves, they can go out and conquer the world.

And that’s what teaching–and mentoring teachers–is all about.

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