It is half-way through my teacher training year and I have been thinking about the support I have had so far this year. Your professional mentor is such a big part of your training and helps in so many ways I feel that I can’t thank them enough.
Having now been on two placements and had the support of two wonderful mentors, here are the top thing I have found useful for my training.
- Organisation and routine.
With paper work to complete, lessons to plan and new experiences every day, it can quite easily become over-whelming and you can feel lost. However, if your mentor has a routine it becomes so much easier. Having your ‘mentorial’ at the same time each week means you can prep all the paper work before hand and create a routine yourself. I know my host school ‘mentorial’ is on a Monday afternoon after school, so I always spend 10 minutes on a Sunday reflecting on my past week, ready for then.
A consistent class timetable means we can get to grips with routine in the classroom and make sure we know when to have our lessons planned for as well as if we have any breaks or assemblies to factor in. Having a consistent PPA time (preferably with your mentor) also means you can plan your own time effectively in what can be a manic year. I have also found it useful to have the timetable highlighted each week with the lessons I am teaching which I can constantly refer back to.
- Supportive and understanding.
It so important to have a supportive and understanding mentor. A mentor understands that we are here to learn, that we will makes mistakes and sympathises with this learning process. I always find it comforting when my mentors have reflected to their own teacher training and talks about some of there mistakes or what they found difficult. It helps you realise you are not the only one. And, when we do make mistakes, they don’t criticise but help with constructive feedback and ideas of how to make it better next time and it goes without saying they will always pull out positives.
- Committed to their own personal development
I have been super lucky that both my mentors are committed to their own personal development in different areas. Being able to learn about the area of education they are passionate about is so helpful to my own development as well as modelling that teachers are always learning too! I am often in awe of the knowledge of my mentors and hope one day I am as insightful and knowledgeable as they are. It’s inspiring to be around teachers who are so passionate about education and helping children reach their full potential.
- A balance of guidance, advice and letting you go.
When I first started teaching, I was asking questions every second, especially when it came to planning but as my confidence has grown I have felt more able to try different things, experiment, and take control of my own lesson plans. I think both my mentors have watched this progress and have seen when it is time for me to ‘go it alone’. They give me confidence to try new things and find my own teacher style but are always there for advice and guidance when I need it.