Standard 4.5: Mentor/beginning teacher confidentiality
A confidential relationship is vital to the success of the work done between a mentor and the beginning teacher. If a beginning teacher suspects that the mentor is talking to the site administrator about his or her practice, open and honest conversations will no longer be possible. It is important that site administrators are aware of the need to uphold this relationship. The following suggested activities can guide the program in the right direction.
Administrators should attend an Administrator’s Academy or other professional development opportunity, so they fully understand their role and how essential confidentiality is. Mentors also need to be formally trained, which will assure them of the benefits of confidentiality. Confidentiality expectations can be formalized through a written contract that clearly states the rationale. Mentors, beginning teachers, and site administrators should all be required to sign it.
It is crucial that site administrators or district program coordinators deal with breakdowns in mentor/beginning teacher relationships promptly to begin the process of rectifying the situation. While every effort should be made first to repair the relationship, site administrators should be prepared for the possibility of changing the assigned mentor. The induction/mentoring program is designed to serve the needs of beginning teachers and, thus, the needs of the beginning teacher need to be accommodated first.