Newsletters


2017-08-11
Newsletter 115 - Mentoring of School Principals


Technically there is a difference between mentoring and coaching. Mentoring refers to the process of life and career planning and focus on spiritual and emotional wellbeing of the individual. Coaching refers to the process of on-the-job training to enhance performance and productivity. Normally coaching is initiated by the employer whilst mentoring is initiated by the individual – now that is under normal circumstances. In the field of school education the line of separation is thin, soft and blurred. In most cases mentoring and coaching is used interchangeably because the impact of the intervention of the individual is determined by “knowing who you are”, job competencies and life skills.

Mentoring and Teacher leadership: “KwaZulu-Natal principals speak” by Pete Jugmohan: (University of KwaZulu-Natal – Pietermaritzburg)

Pete defines mentoring “as an effective way of helping people develop in their professional careers. Mentoring has also been described as the support, assistance, advocacy or guidance given by one person to another in order to achieve an objective over a period of time. It also provides a process that allows leaders to initiate productive relationships, identity and concerns, determine effective responses to resistance and empower others through collaborative learning.”

Comments from Principals thus far on what mentoring is and the role they see mentoring playing in the management of their schools ……

  • “Mentoring is seen as one of the ways a school staff can work flexibly and creatively together to become a learning organization.”
  • “Structured mentoring if widely and wisely used in organizations can help teachers at different points in their working lives.”
  • “the role of a school mentoring programme must form part of the school’s overall development plan - lead and manage people, provide the right support and follow-up”
  • “If it is used well it can facilitate induction, career advancement, acquisition of new skills and problem solving. It will support capacity building within the school by providing valuable opportunities for contextualized learning.”
  • “Mentors can also assist mentees to deal with the challenges associated with a productive and meaningful work life, especially in an era of unprecedented change”
  • “ It brings about the required effective teaching and learning which in the long run culminates in the development of a school into a learning organization.”
  • “It lessens the duty of the HOD because all the teachers with problems are mentored by more experienced teachers.”
  • “Way of identifying potential in people and to then put them in senior position if someone is retiring. Create a forum for junior staff to view professional development.”
  • “As a leader I believe that mentoring will speed up the development of future leaders”
  • “May motivate educators to remain in the teaching profession, educator stress may be alleviated, negative influence on learners learning may be reduced.”

When the principals were asked to comment on the benefits of mentoring for them as new principals, they went on to say that it ….

  • “reduced feelings of isolation, stress and frustration/therapeutic benefits . Increased confidence, reflectiveness and self-esteem and created a safe place to talk about teaching challenges.”
  • “ gave me the opportunity to reflect on the new role, and accelerated rate of learning. It also benefitted my own professional development since I am able to share common experiences.”
  • “ improved my personal skills, including communication skills and improved technical expertise and problem analysis and to meet the changing needs of teachers and encouraged collegiality.”
  • “ added value to my insights into current practice, and a greater awareness of different approaches to headship”
  • “ gave support to me as the new principal to act as a catalyst for improving professional culture, teaching and learning.”

Comments on the value of mentoring in our ever changing educational system ….

  • “Can give stability to the changing scenario, since it brings trust, confidence and restores the way one looks at things.”
  • “ A tool to ease resistance to change and new ideas as It leads to empowerment as an individual and benefits the organization.”
  • “ Makes the organization self-reliant and teachers are able to face all challenges that they encounter at the workplace”
  • “ Improves staff interpersonal relations, where teachers will view each other as true colleagues they can lean on.”
  • “ Assists both learners and teachers in career-pathing and educators to become reflective practitioners.”
  • “ It could help to promote succession planning and through distributed leadership heads can increase levels of effectiveness and power in the school system.”

Comments on the role /value of communication in mentoring …

  • “As with any communication, face-to-face is best, telephone is good, written or electronic delivery your third choice.”
  • “Talking to people is time consuming but a worthwhile investment, particularly at the beginning when you are establishing a relationship. Real communication is two-way.”
  • “ You will need to be available to participants and willing to listen and respond constructively to any concerns or issues that they raise.”
  • "To keep people actively involved schedule talks, discussion forums, workshops or webinars as part of your programme.”
  • “These may range from simple lunchroom presentations, self-organized social events, an on-line chat facility or blog to formal workshops.”
  • “People who feel that they are part of a programme are more likely to stay engaged.”
  • “As with any communication, face-to-face is best, telephone is good, written or electronic delivery your third choice.”
  • “Talking to people is time consuming but a worthwhile investment, particularly at the beginning when you are establishing a relationship. Real communication is two-way.”
  • “ You will need to be available to participants and willing to listen and respond constructively to any concerns or issues that they raise.”
  • "To keep people actively involved schedule talks, discussion forums, workshops or webinars aspart of your programme.”
  • “These may range from simple lunchroom presentations , self-organized social events, an on-line chat facility or blog to formal workshops.”
  • “People who feel that they are part of a programme are more likely to stay engaged.”