I think mentors are very important. Not even just for someone new at a job, but for everyone. I would love to have a mentor. If I ran the world :) or at least a school, I would assign every teacher a partner so they could mentor each other throughout the year. Maybe give them time once a month to share ideas or lessons with each other. I konw there are a lot of people who would probably roll their eyes at that idea but there are so many times I have an idea for an activity and I just don't have anyone to ask for an opinion of how to implement it, etc. Or sometimes a sensitive situation comes up and you could just use some advice on how to handle it.
My mentor my first year of teaching was not very open to collaboration. As a matter of fact, whenever we were required to do an activity together, she'd just hand it to me and tell me to fill it out. I have not had much luck being a mentor either. I've been assigned 3 times and was super-excited. Well, two of those people quit before pre-service ended (I don't think that had anything to do with me, simply mistaken expectations of how easy teaching would be). And the other just wasn't open to any kind of collaboration. Oh well, we do what we can. And luckily I have fellow bloggers that I consider to be mentors.:)
Anyway, I bring this up because one of our Pre-K classes generously offered to allow my students to come read to their students each Friday. I think this is good for both groups. The younger students are hearing stories being read the way they aim to read someday. And my kiddos are given an opportunity to practice those reading chops. During the week they pick out books "I think my buddy might like this one" or "do you think this is too long to read to my buddy?". It's heartwarming to see them get so excited about a literary activity.
Then I have my Student Council group. The students this year suggested we have a mentor program where the older representatives are mentoring the younger ones. I was so impressed that they would come up with an idea like that I ran to my principal who also approved. One day a week after school the 1st Graders came and played some games and heard some stories that the older kids brought to share with them. I really hope it's something that we can do next year on a bigger level-maybe giving the "mentors" some leadership classes and having a year-long relationship with a younger student.
I think the mentor process can be good for everyone involved!