The faculty mentorship program at STS was introduced in 2006 in order to formally mentor new faculty and guide their induction into the school community over an extended period, as they begin their careers at STS. The mentorship program provides a non-evaluative and supportive environment where new faculty develop an understanding of school culture. Working closely together, new faculty and their mentors set high goals and challenge their own teaching methodologies, thereby promoting excellence in teaching. Thirteen years later, the program continues to support teaching excellence at STS by providing training and support to mentors. This ensures that each year our new faculty feel welcomed and a part of the school, develop at least one strong relationship, and have a partner with whom they can grow, as a teacher and as a member of our community. Often, these relationships become so much more.
Cultivating Excellence through Inclusion
By Nicole Egli, Senior School Science Teacher, Science Curriculum Leader, Round Square Coordinator
As part of the faculty mentorship program at STS this year, I was matched with mentee Nelson MacDougal – our new incoming Middle School Science teacher. I knew that he came to STS with a strong background in teaching science, and a tremendous amount of experience creating engaging lessons and unit plans. His teaching methodology fit well with the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and his ability to form relationships with students was evident. Although the focus of our mentor/mentee relationship could just have been focused on an introduction to the routines and policies of STS, it has become so much more.
Nelson and I found early in the year that we had a lot in common. From interests outside of school, to a fondness for dogs, to a shared sense of fascination with how the Middle School student brain works, our discussions ranged wide in topics. And through these discussions, we were also able to update and improve the units of study in our shared courses. I have found that having a technologically savvy, and design-oriented co-teacher has introduced new projects to our courses and new opportunities to me, so in my eyes, our relationship has been mutually beneficial in terms of promoting teaching excellence. I know the students appreciate the multi-disciplinary approach we have tried, and it is fun to develop new resources and practices that blend together our experiences and teaching styles. And introducing Nelson to our school has reminded me how exceptional this school is.
Instant connection accelerates Excellence
By Nelson MacDougall, Middle School Science Teacher
The decision to move to STS is one that I made after much thought, and with mixed feelings. Starting at a new school is a daunting task that usually takes time away from excellence in teaching, replacing it with learning the culture and procedures of a new school. That said, it is always exciting to walk into a new building with new staff and students, a place full of wonder, new ideas, unique approaches, and all new systems. Those same aspects that bring excitement, also present a challenge to both the teacher and to the school itself. Through the faculty mentorship program, STS has turned this challenge into an opportunity.
This program has allowed me to instantly connect with my mentor, Nicole Egli, a seasoned educator at STS. Nicole and I bonded quickly over many shared interests, work habits, and similar thought processes and values. She has helped me decipher the many complex systems and structures new to me at STS. I am able to approach her anytime, with any questions, without fear of consequence, something I take advantage of multiple times everyday. This is an opportunity that every school should offer as it accelerates excellence in teaching by allowing the teacher to focus on teaching and students and less on trying to stumble through processes and procedures. I am grateful that I was given this opportunity as it made for a smooth transition. I look forward to continuing to build the mentee/mentor partnership with Nicole in the coming years.