Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Mentoring trainees.

Less than three weeks now before my trainee finishes with us. After an interesting lesson today thought would reflect on the mentoring process.

I have been involved with trainee teachers for the last 15 years, with BEd, PGCE, GTP and SCITT. The role has evolved over the years and it is immensely rewarding.

Working with a trainee has made me evaluate my own teaching style and made me much more aware of the importance of teaching lessons with good pace. Being an effective mentor is crucial to support trainees through the nerves and the odd disastrous lesson! Spending time talking about lessons I have taught has really helped to build good relationships with trainees. In fact I have used video to good effect - the trainee will video me and we will watch it together and discuss the lesson, concentrating on questioning for example. This will be followed by the trainee being videoed and a similar discussion taking place. The idea not being "Watch me to see how marvellous I am" but "Let's look at this lesson and identify what works and what could be done differently/improved". Once the initial fear of the camera is overcome this is a very powerful tool indeed.

An effective mentor must be an effective teacher first and foremost, and have bags of enthusiasm. A mentor forced into the role is not the way to go.The amount of teaching experience is not key- a teacher in their 2nd or 3rd year of teaching can be a great role model for a trainee and the process can be useful for both.

Being a mentor has certainly improved my own teaching, as well as shown me a wealth of different approaches, resources and ideas. I hope to be able to continue as a mentor next year, but restructuring in the school leaves that somewhat uncertain at the present time. There are so many more positives than negatives.

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