Mentoring and Evaluating Terms: Definitions and Clarifications, D Gerwin, M Soule AWSNA
The following descriptions attempt to clarify the uses of the terms relating to mentors and evaluators of individual teachers, as well as terms referring to the mentoring and evaluation of schools as a whole.
In-house Mentor – appointed by the school
In-house mentors are experienced teachers assigned by their schools to support a colleague (often a new teacher) in the improvement of his or her teaching. It is necessary for mentors to visit regularly to observe the students and teacher in the classroom, to meet with the teacher regularly, be available for questions and provide support to the teacher. These relationships are confidential and non-evaluative.
Outside Mentor – appointed by the school
Outside mentors are experienced teachers assigned by a school to visit one or more of its teachers when no suitable or appropriate mentor is available within the school. The relationship is the same as with in-house mentors.
Peer Support (also called “buddy” or “talking partner”) – chosen by the teacher
A peer support position usually is an experienced colleague in the same school as the teacher seeking help. He or she is a person with whom the teacher can speak in confidence as a way of gaining perspective and insight and share materials.
School Mentor – appointed by the school
This term generally refers to those who advise and provide guidance and oversee the mentoring. If they are from outside the school, their periodic visits may include observing individual teachers and offering suggestions in follow-up.
School Mentoring Team – appointed by AWSNA’s regional delegates in the school’s region
As a “developing member” of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) the regional delegates designates a team of 2-3 experienced teachers, usually from the delegates group and member schools, that provides ongoing support to the school as it progresses towards candidacy. Members of this team may make visits to the developing school to observe and assess progress, and provide support and resources to help the school in its development. These visits are usually focused more on the overall development of the school and while they are not intended to include individual pedagogical mentoring or evaluation to teachers, they may include drop-in visits to classes and conversations with individual teachers.
Teacher Evaluator – appointed by the school
Evaluators are experienced teachers invited into a school to observe one or more teachers as part of the school’s periodic review program. Evaluators write reports based on their visits, identifying strengths and areas for growth. Usually evaluators discuss their findings with the teachers they have evaluated before submitting their report to the school.
School Evaluators – appointed by the school
From time to time a school may opt to invite one or more colleagues to visit the school to offer outside perspectives. These school evaluators may come in response to a crisis or in the context of a chronic or systemic problem.
School Evaluation Team – appointed by AWSNA
As a “candidacy member” of AWSNA, a school will be visited by a team of evaluators whose task it is to determine whether the school is moving successfully towards full membership in the Association. These visits are largely focused on the overall development of the school but will include drop-in visits to classes and possibly conversations with individual teachers.
Schools undergoing AWSNA accreditation receive similar visiting teams.
AWSNA member schools commit to periodic self-study and peer review, which may include a site visit by an AWSNA-appointed team. (See AWSNA membership guidelines for details.)
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Supervising Teacher – designated by a teacher education institute
A supervising teacher is a colleague working in a school who agrees to accept a student teacher into his or her classroom as part of an internship of observation and practice teaching. This teacher supervises the work of the student teacher using guidelines set by the student’s teacher education institute. Often this colleague is designated as “cooperating teacher” or “on-site teacher”.
Internship/Practicum Supervisor – designated by a teacher education institute
Students enrolled in a Waldorf teacher education program generally undertake an internship or practicum in a Waldorf school as part of their training. In this context a faculty member of the program may visit the school to observe the student who is interning in the school under the guidance of a supervising teacher (see above)
Pedagogical Mentorship Network (formerly Pedagogical Advisors Colloquium)
This group of teachers has been working together for several years to deepen its understanding of supportive mentoring practices and the overall role of mentoring in schools. The purpose of this group is not to train or prepare mentors but to build a body of experience and resources that can be helpful to schools in developing their mentoring programs. Participants in the colloquium have taken active roles in offering regional mentoring seminars based on the experience of the colloquium.