Reflecting upon the present and planning for the future: A collegial mentoring initiative

Year: 1999

Author: Butcher, Jude

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers and administrators are often involved in complex situations which call for wise decision making and considerable professional expertise. They are required to focus upon the present while also ensuring that attention is giving to preparing for new situations and agendas. Balancing the tension between present and future agendas is a key challenge for people with management and leadership responsibilities in schools, higher education or business.

Formal mentoring is employed to assist in the induction of staff to new professional roles or responsibilities. Particular people are designated as mentor and mentee and specific goals and procedures are agreed upon. The organisation involved is responsible for the selection and professional development of the mentors and evaluating the effectiveness of the process. Peer relationships within organisations have been of significant value in providing career and personal support in organisations. Smith (1992) has described how the focus and effect of the peer relationship can vary according to peopleÝs career stage and the level of trust between the participants

While increasing attention is being given to the development of formal mentoring programs within organisations it is important that the nature and benefits of collegial mentoring across sectors be examined

The paper presents the history of a collegial mentoring relationship between a school principal and a head of school. It shows how this across sector collegial or mutual mentoring has been successful in assisting the participants in learning from their everyday experiences while also planning for the future.