Excellence . Love . Service . Integrity
The Mentorship Programme
Excellent teachers, selected by their principals, are empowered by the Jamaica Teaching Council through the Mentorship Unit, to serve the education system as mentors. The empowerment sessions are done over 10 weeks and include pertinent, practical areas that will impact the output of teachers. A dynamic learning environment is characterized by change, activity, and progress. Therefore, the empowerment sessions for mentors are done throughout the calendar year to build the capacity of each mentor as they strive to be the best version of themselves. The underpinning goal of the mentorship programme is teacher collaboration that keeps them on the cutting edge of education and ultimately, results in better student outcomes. The mentorship relationship is a win-win for both mentor and mentee as they learn from each other and grow professionally.
Overview of the Programme
The work of mentoring includes “modeling, maintaining tradition, offering a map and providing a mirror.” [Luna & Cullen, 1995]
In keeping with the recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Youth, Cabinet via Decision NO. 27/06 – 17 has approved the Beginning Teacher Mentorship Policy and granted approval for the implementation of a mandatory mentorship programme for all beginning teachers and teachers returning to the professions after five or more years of absence.
The Mentorship Programme aims provide mentors and mentees with opportunities for professional growth and development through collegial support, reflective practice and collaborative learning. Participants will define roles and describe goals and activities in a joint Mentorship Programme plan. The planning will focus on issues and identified needs including classroom management, instructional planning, school-based decision-making, growth plans, curricular issues, individual student needs, student assessment and working with parents.
The Mentorship and Beginning Teachers’ Induction Programme provides another full year of professional support so that new teachers can develop the requisite skills and knowledge that will enable them to achieve success as experienced teachers in the Education System. By helping new teachers achieve their full potential, the Beginning Teacher Induction Programme supports the vision of the Ministry of Education/ Jamaica Teaching Council of achieving high levels of student performance.
The JTC believes that all beginning teachers must be assisted and supported for a maximum of three years of service within the profession. This assistance and support will enhance their transition into the profession and the responsibilities of teaching by providing opportunities for their development as professionals who will work to implement the MoEYI’s strategic objectives.
In Jamaica, it was fortuitous that the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) was established in 2008 with a mandate to enable and sustain a quality teaching profession. As such the profession should be geared to realize the mantra of Jamaica “Every child can learn, Every child must learn.” Its initial review of the performance of students revealed the gravity of the issue of the performance of boys. The “Advancing the Education of Boys Programme” was launched in the National Arena as part of the National Forum for Innovations in Teaching (FIT) exhibition in October 2014. In the launch of the Programme, the Council was clear that the intention was not to compare boys and girls, it was directed at raising the achievement levels of boys so that they would all become productive citizens.
Males in education and corporate Jamaica are selected through recommendation and screening to support our boys across primary and secondary schools. This is done with the support of the principals and parents/guardians as we work collaboratively to build a mentorship programme for schoolboys such that they have a context in which they can access psychosocial support and acquire competencies for livelihood.
The Mentors' Association of Jamaica
The Mentors’ Association of Jamaica Limited (MAJ) was founded in April 2021, under the umbrella of the Mentorship Unit of the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC). Its main aim is the empowerment of teachers serving as mentors to assist in the professional development of i.beginning teachers in their first year of practice, ii. educators who are experiencing pedagogical challenges, and iii. the boys’ mentorship programme. This academic year, over four hundred (400) teachers have been empowered to serve as mentors, bringing the number to seven hundred and thirty (730) trained and active mentors in 61% of our public schools. Our next cohort will target private schools.
Many schools across the island have mentorship programmes, but now deliberate steps are being taken by the Jamaica Teaching Council to get them streamlined to maximize collaboration across the 7 educational regions and 63 quality education circles through the association.