Loyola University Chicago E-Mentoring Expansion Site Dorothy Giroux, Faculty Advisor Jane Hunt, Project Coordinator Manoj Verma, Technology Consultant
Background • Induction Program in place since 2000. • We have many beginning teachers who leave the immediate area or are not involved in district based programs – parochial or independent schools. We need ways of serving them. • Jane Hunt has served as a Induction Program contact person and have developed emailing relationships with many of our participants.
Need for Website Component • We met as early as the summer of 2002 to discuss what an online program might look like. • We developed possible several templates for a program and determined who might participate. • We began to explore options for funding and start up resources.
Grant Assistance offered on May 2, 2003 • Manoj Verma, Dorothy Giroux and Jane Hunt met with Cari Klecka at UIUC at an IPLP meeting. Cari outlined the grant, timeline and requirements. • Manoj was hired as a grad assistant to work with the UIUC technical team and to design and troubleshoot the website.
The Planning Stage • Weekly team meetings to set goals and review progress. (“list stage”) • Phone conferences with UIUC team • Trips to UIUC – May 1-2, June 16-17, August 4-6 for Mentor Training Session
Start Up Responsibilities • Website Design – software originally expected in July, was available in early August • Recruitment of novice teachers and mentors • Planning of two initial training workshops • Handbook development • Notebook preparation for initial training workshops
Cont. • CPDU workshop credit • Determine mentor incentives • E- Conferencing Training issues • Work with Loyola site for initial access to UIUC link • Extensive contact with novice teachers
Beginning Workshops • We began with approximately 40 participants. • This included 30 novice teachers and 10 original mentors. • We offered a choice of workshops – one in late August and the other in mid-September. • Approximately 25 participants joined us in August and 15 in September, although additional participants registered, but did not attend.
Initial Workshop Agenda • Informal gathering • Hank Bohanon, Ph.D. from Loyola spoke on Positive Behavorial Support • Lunch and visiting • Hands on software training
January Mid-year Workshop • Approximately 30 participants attended • Topic – New Year – New Books Lynn Stuertz, from the Bookstall in Winnetka shared outstanding new children’s literature and piles of book posters and advance paperback book copies to participants. • Lunch and gathering • Online software training and evaluation sessions
Where the project stands now • We consider our pilot year to be highly successful. • Currently we have sixty online participants. • We look forward to bringing our Spring 2004 graduates into the program. • We plan to identify and add new active mentors. • We hope to offer mentor training. • We plan to expand the Special Education component (folder).
What we have learned – Why Novice Teachers Participate • They want to remain connected with Loyola. • They believe it will look good professionally. • They want to be able to share what works in their classrooms. • They enjoy the workshops, seeing former classmates and professors, and meeting experienced and mentor teachers. • They think they might post questions on the site when they need help.
What we have learned – Why Experienced Teachers Participate • They have completed the initial stage of “getting through the day” in their classrooms and are looking for something interesting to become involved in. • They appreciate the CPDU workshop credit. • They enjoy continuing the relationship with Loyola. • They recognize the emotional needs of beginning teachers and realize they can be helpful.
What we have learned – Why Mentor Teachers Participate • They look at teaching and being educators in a different light. • They enjoy the special relationship with Loyola University Chicago. • They appreciate the opportunity to think through issues and respond reflectively. • They want to encourage novice teachers. • They enjoy meeting and connecting with other mentor teachers.
What we have learned • Mentors become easily frustrated when novice teachers do not post questions for them to respond to (Mentor training is needed.) They often run ideas by Jane Hunt to see if they should post them, prior to actually posting them. • Novice teachers are reluctant to post issues that might indicate that they are having difficulties. • Novice teachers spend a great deal of time reading postings, but often do not respond.
Cont. • Novice teachers continue to connect in personal ways with mentors – in person, on the phone, via email. • Mentors are highly committed to helping novice teachers and do not hesitate to provide assistance in these professional relationships.
Final Observation • There has been a great deal of mentoring that has occurred because of this website, even if the postings do not necessarily demonstrate it!