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  • Writer's picturePaul W Abernathy, CMECP®

Tips to mentoring electrical instructors

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Tips on Successful Implementation of Mentoring

Mentoring, training, and coaching programs for novice instructors are excellent ways to improve the quality of skills and knowledge of a new instructor, his/her job satisfaction, and his professional competence. These programs available for the new instructor are also effective means of enhancing the student’s abilities and the mentor’s skills as well. In many vocational schools, these mentoring programs are mandatory to ensure that the new instructors are fully capable of handling the classes.

In some schools, mentoring programs are instituted not only to prepare the new instructor for the job but also as a way of addressing the problem of educator shortage. Recent news published in Contra Costa Times reveals that almost 25% of new instructors in California leave their job in their first four years of teaching because of a lack of support from the administration and fellow educators. Also, the mentoring program adds a bureaucratic burden both for novice instructors and their mentors. Apart from the additional responsibilities that are given to the instructor, there’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be accomplished. This includes preparing lesson plans, evaluations, and progress and accomplishment reports.

In order to ensure that mentoring programs are successfully implemented, here are some tips and pointers to remember:

• Eliminate unnecessary paperwork and requirements – this has been recommended by UC Riverside researchers after finding out that a lot of mentors and new instructors engaged in the program are complaining about the repetitive tasks and extra paperwork they need to accomplish. Aside from the fact that neophyte educators are already overwhelmed by their new responsibilities, they are still burdened with lots of paperwork including preparing lesson plans, which usually consumes so much of their time. It is recommended that programs should focus on mentoring itself. The new and veteran instructors may engage in less taxing activities that would allow them to interact and share knowledge, skills, and experiences freely.

• New instructors must be matched with the right mentors – It is important for the new instructor and the mentor to interact without any inhibition. To be able to achieve this, the administrators must strive to match new instructors with mentors who share the same qualities and interests. This would allow the new instructor to freely ask questions and ask for tips and advice from the mentor.

• Have separate evaluators – In order for the mentor and the new instructor to focus on their main tasks, they must be relieved from doing additional tasks such as evaluation of the program. A separate evaluator who shall meet the veteran and the new instructors to discuss the progress of the mentoring program may be assigned.

• Conduct regular assessment of the whole mentoring program – Campus-level administrators should not only evaluate the progress of the newly hired instructors but as well as the whole mentoring, training, and coaching program of the school, which includes the mentor's capability to coach neophyte educators, the process of mentoring, the student's progress vis-à-vis to the new instructors’ progress during the program, and other forms of support and assistance given to the new instructor.

It is also important to determine the thoughts or opinions of other educators and instructors about the program and its impact on their desire to stay or leave the school or the electrical trade profession. These things are vital to the implementation and improvement not only of the mentoring programs of the particular school but of others as well.

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1 Comment

Mike Swartz
Mike Swartz
Aug 23, 2022

Thanks for the info Paul. This is one of those articles which get you thinking. With the right support and a lot of work, becoming a electrical instructor could be a possibility. Definitely wouldn't rule it out and neither should anyone else.

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