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Mentor support

In this video, highly experienced mentor, Greg, outlines some of the different ways he has supported new teachers.
Hi, my name’s Greg Michael. I’m the Lead Practitioner in Science at the Derby High School. I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on the benefits of having trainee teachers within the department. Now, I’ve been involved with initial teacher training in school for a good few years. I’m one of the current NQT mentors within the science department as well. During that time, I’ve seen a huge range of trainee teachers, from those that are brilliant right from the get-go to those that need a lot more support in order to reach the standards that we’re looking for. And the benefits of having a trainee teacher with the department can vary from one trainee to another.
But in every year, there is definite plus points. Now, a lot of people worry about the extra workload. But lots of the ways that we help our trainees develop involve the tasks that we’re doing anyway. So most of the process isn’t actually any extra work. For example, with those trainee teachers that require more support to develop, you have to utilise the strengths of your department. For instance, if the trainee teacher is having an issue with behaviour management, you’ve got to evaluate the different behaviour management strategies that members of your department use, arrange observations for the trainee teacher, and then discuss the findings.
So from just that one action of organising, really, observations, you’ve given your trainee teacher exposure to two, maybe three different behaviour management strategies, along with any other observations that you’ve made. You then discuss these with the trainee teacher during your weekly meetings. You might raise one or two other positives that you’ve seen in that lesson that then can go on to leading a good– sharing a good practise maybe at the next departmental CPD session that could potentially have gone unseen if that trainee teacher hadn’t been in those lessons.
Another really good plus point for me, and something that I quite enjoy, is that the trainee teachers generally come with quite a fresh and often exciting view on the way that you’ve got a lesson or a subject should be taught. By supporting them to take these chances and evaluate the impact of the lesson they’ve planned, it can often see us as a department implementing that as part of our new scheme of work. I mean, this year, for instance, we’ve often had one of our NQTs to share snippets of what they do in weekly meetings. And often, these are things that they were aware of during their initial teacher training as well.
One last benefit, and purely from a kind of a mental side of row, is that you get to do lots of observations and deliver feedback. And that’s great on four different levels. One, you can help that student teacher develop, which is great. That’s why we’re all in the profession, to help people reach their potential. Two, you get to see your students from a different view. Sitting amongst them or behind them, and watching them, as opposed to teaching them can give you a better feel for the students in your class. And you can focus on what does and doesn’t work for them. And then that can influence your practise going forward.
As an observer as well, whether you’re the mentor of that trainee teacher or not, you’ve got an opportunity to develop the skills and delivering feedback. Sometimes the conversations can be quite difficult. But every programme that I have worked with, there’s always been support from the universities to help deliver that feedback if needed. And four, when you are delivering that feedback, you also often evaluate yourself and reflect on your own practise as a teacher. I often find myself when I’m giving people some feedback, oh, gosh, I do that as well. I should really evaluate what I’m doing there and find a better way of doing it. So in general, having a trainee teacher in the department has got lots of benefits.
And it’s definitely something that I’d be recommending to other departments going forward.

In this video, highly experienced mentor, Greg, outlines some of the different ways he has supported new teachers. The video does not just focus on the mentor-new teacher relationship but also describes how the wider staff have been involved in the development of new teachers.

Greg emphasises that the development of new teachers is not a one way process. Providing opportunities for new teachers to share their ideas and provide feedback to others can also make massive contributions to their professional development.

Do you think any of these actions would be appropriate to support you?

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