Janelle Radue loves teaching seventh graders at Christ-St. Peter, Milwaukee. Her greatest joy is “sharing the love of Jesus with them each and every day.”
Janelle is in her second year of teaching, so she has an assigned instructional mentor according to the synod’s policy for New Teacher Induction. “I love working with my mentor. She helps me in ways that I was not expecting,” she says. “My mentor is phenomenal at listening and feeding off of that, rather than telling me everything I have to do.”
Instructional mentors are trained as instructional coaches. They help new teachers sort through complex issues and clarify them.
“I have the challenge of focusing on one thing at a time, but my mentor is wonderful at piecing together the information.” With her mentor’s help, Janelle has become more effective. “Not only does my mentor help me with classroom preparation,” she says, “but she provides insight on time management, classroom management, and just coping with the stresses of life as a beginning teacher.”
And that’s important because Janelle, like most new teachers, has many responsibilities. She teaches all subjects in her seventh grade classroom, including PE, art, and music. She also coaches girls’ basketball and helps with the school musical.
Does having a mentor add to her stress? No. “My initial thoughts about having a mentor were sighs of relief.” Janelle wanted to have an experienced teacher to consult with about her teaching. “I love receiving feedback and was looking forward to working with a mentor.”
“She displays Christ’s love to me, encourages me to stay positive in my classroom and to find good things, even when it seems like only negative things are occurring, in my teaching and instruction.”
Janelle’s message to experienced teachers? “Please consider mentoring a new teacher. Your knowledge and experience, no matter what it is, will benefit a new teacher who is trying to sort out all that goes into teaching.”