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If you were to ask a group of beginning teachers what kind of help they need from a mentor, many would tell you—as they consistently tell me and other researchers—that they need help with discipline, classroom management, and lesson planning. In addition, most would indicate that they need information about school policies and procedures, that they appreciate timely feedback, and that they hunger for friendly support.

Does this mean that all new teachers have the same needs and therefore can be treated the same? Of course not. “Treating individuals individually is exactly what mentoring is all about. It is the best form of support for professional growth because it is customized to address the strengths and needs of each learner” (Sweeny, 2007, p. 10). You ...

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