Incentives in Mentoring - Who Benefits?

by Ami Hicks

You have received "excellent" on your evaluations. You are considered a master teacher. You have classroom teaching techniques that would be considered by some to be an art form. As an experienced professional, you are respected for your ability to encounter difficult situations with ease. You have met the criteria to qualify as a mentor and are asked to share your expertise with a colleague. Will you be a mentor?
Mentoring requires that the individual receive training to acquire skills that are necessary for a successful relationship with the protege. Mentoring also requires a commitment of time, energy, and resources. Budget and time constraints often force mentoring activities to be conducted before or after school or during the classroom plan time. Mentoring places certain expectations on the mentor.
Mentoring and peer coaching activities create the conditions for growth or achieving results. It is appropriate that the extra time and effort spent in improving instruction be recognized.
Implementation of a successful mentoring program often includes appropriate incentives to attract qualified candidates. A recent survey of 10 school districts in the Chicago-Surubran area showed that most offered continuing education credits as the primary incentive to participants of mentoring and peer coaching programs, while two responding districts offered stipends.
At the February 6 meeting of the Chicago Suburban Mentoring and Peer Coaching Network, the focus was to define incentives, determine their purpose, and to brainstorm ideas for types of incen tives that might be
offered to teachers involved in mentoring.
A Definition:
The participants defined an incentive as a prompt to go forward, a positive reinforcement, and a reason to do something.
The Purpose of Incentives:
It was agreed that the purpose of an incentive was to:
Questions raised were:
Possible Incentives for Mentoring:
The Mentoring and Peer Coaching Network generated a list of possible incentives that could be offered in implementing a mentoring program. These ideas are listed here for you.
  • Released time
    • to mentor
    • to do research
    • to collaborate with professionals on projects
    • to receive training during work hours
  • Recognition dinner
    • at a Board Meeting
    • at a Faculty Meeting
  • Support Letters in Personnel file indicating leadership and commitment to the school district
  • letter of praise
  • Evaluation
    • guaranteed rating with follow-up proof
  • Money
    • Salary
    • money in a stipend form
  • Continuing education credit
    • Needed for renewal of certificate
    • To move on salary schedule
  • Priority given to mentors for budget support for teaching items
  • Use of personal days when desired (ie. just before or just after a holiday)
  • Conferences
    • Allowed to present at conferences and meetings
    • Payment given to reimburse conference fees
    • Priority given to attend conferences
  • Priority for courses taught
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Summer training in August
  • Token of Appreciation Object:
    • Pin
    • Coffee Mug with symbol or program name
    • Small Gift like "golden apple" or "school Hand Bell"
    • Business cards
      This list is designed to generate ideas. It was strongly recommended by the Mentoring and Peer Coaching Network to involve the teachers in the collaborative negotiation of incentives. It is important to recognize that the incentive be based on the needs of the individual and alternatives within the budget. BE CREATIVE!

      Who benefits?
    Students--receive improved in-struction as the mentor/protege team work to develop effective teaching strategies.
    Teachers--working cooperatively, learning from each other, develop pride when receiving recognition and rewards.
    Administrators--allowing mentor teachers to assist in problem solving by providing support, empowering individuals with the autonomy to make decisions affecting change.
    School district--Recognition of staff for their contributions elevates pride and self-esteem resulting in attracting talented professionals to provide the best possible instruction in a work environment that promotes innovation.
    BE SELECTIVE! Choose incentives to promote mentoring that will enhance personal and professional growth.