Using Guide-Buddy Teachers

Selecting and Matching “Guide-Buddy” Teachers

© 1992, Barry Sweeny

For many reasons, I suggest that two levels of mentoring be provided in every mentoring program:

  • A MENTOR for beginning teachers with a year or less experience
  • A GUIDE for new teachers who have a year or more of recent experience.

The following information explains how the Mentoring and Guide Teacher Programs that I coordinated (1987-92) selected and matched the staff filling the Guide teacher roles.


A. In April every year the Office of Staff Development shall give each building principal copies of applications for service as a guide teacher. These forms shall be generally available at each school throughout April each year. All staff interested in serving as a guide with any new person to be employed later, should sign and return this form to the office of Staff Development by May 1st.

B. A list of those who have applied to be guides will be maintained. Those persons who have not already been trained as a Guide will be invited to attend a guide teacher training session. Although guide trainings can be held at any time there will always be at least one training scheduled during May.

C. Each June, the Office of Staff Development shall supply the principals with a current list of those staff who are trained as Guides, also indicating those who have previously served as a guide, their most recent year of service, and the type of guide that service included (building orientation Guide, Curriculum Guide, etc.  See Roles and Tasks for Guides).


The principals and supervisors usually have participated in interviews with new employees and, therefore, are best positioned to know the strengths and needs of new staff. Also, principals and supervisors know the strengths and limitations of the current staff who might serve as Guides or Mentors. Therefore, the Coordinator of the Mentor and Guide Programs shall consult with the appropriate principals and supervisors to determine the most appropriate person for service as a guide.

Their decision shall be informed by :
1. Diagnosing the level of experience and needs of the new employee

2. Consulting the policy for assignment of a Mentor or a Guide

3. Considering the job assignment of the new staff member

4. Selecting the best available Guide or Mentor or combination thereof from the list of those who have applied and have been trained for their anticipated role

Persons may be selected as a Guide or a Mentor who are not yet trained if:

  • The Guide or Mentor has applied to do the job
  • The Guide or Mentor meets all other qualifications
  • The Guide or Mentor can be trained before the start of school or within two weeks of the start of school, depending on available training dates.