May 15, 2021
This episode topic was requested by Ashely in The Teaching Space Community. She said:
"I would love to hear about the most beneficial things you can have a student-teacher do before exiting the program and teaching on their own. This is my first time having a student-teacher."
In this podcast I am going to focus on general advice for those mentoring trainee teachers or new trainers as I do not have expertise in sectors outside of corporate and FE. To try to give a rounded response to this topic request, I also chatted to my wider Twitter network and will share some of their suggestions.
I am mindful that this is a massive area, so will not aim to cover everything in one short episode.
Incidentally, if you would like to join our community and help shape the podcast in the future, visit community.theteachingspace.com.
I'm going to split this episode into three sections. First I am going to share some of the helpful information I got from Twitter about mentoring trainee teachers. Then I will share some previous podcast episodes that I think will be helpful. Finally, I will share some tips from my own experience, having mentored several trainee teachers in FE and also candidates doing QTLS and ATS.
Nikki on Twitter (@nikkitel) said:
"I encourage them to consider their mental health from the outset and to understand that it’s ok to not know everything. I try to help them realise that if they don’t feel that they excel, it’s only for now. They don’t excel yet."
This reminded me of Carol Dweck's "the power of yet".
I completely agree with considering mental health from the outset - remember your oxygen mask.
Andy on Twitter (@guruteaching) shared an article on the topic he wrote, which I will include in the show notes.
One thing I loved about Andy's article is his point about showing your trainee how far they've come. Andy said:
"Finally, it helps for our trainees to see not just where they are going, but also where they have been. It’s too easy for them to be uber-busy, planning lessons, dealing with behaviour incidents, giving feedback and learning new subject knowledge for tomorrow’s lesson. Sometimes, they simply can’t see the progress that they’re making. Set aside some time to step back with them and with a smile on your face, show them how they have grown since the beginning of the course."
Chase on Twitter (@chasemitsuda) said it boils down to starting with empathy and share a great Brene Brown video that I will include in the show notes. He also said:
"Also believing that we are all learners, and teachers who have just started their careers have so much to offer, including fresh perspectives."
Finally, Jonathon on Twitter (@jonmedeiros) said, as mentors we can:
"help foster curiosity, self reflection, and adjustment as natural and important skills."
I'm going to share and comment on a few recent episodes of the podcast that will help anyone mentoring trainees now in the future. Don't forget, you might need some professional development in order to fulfil the role of mentor effectively - some of these episodes will be helpful in this area.
I'll mention episode numbers - all you need to put in your browser is theteachingspace.com followed by / and the episode number in digits. There are also links in the show notes.
Following on from Nikki's wise mental health guidance mentioned a the start, it would be worth listening to my recent interview with Guernsey Mind's Chris Chamberlain (113). You could listen to help support your trainee better in this area - you could also recommend your trainee has a listen.
My interview with Joanne Miles about coaching is a must-listen - it is episode 104. Mentoring and coaching are on a spectrum and you are likely to need to be a mentor some of the time and a coach at other times. Understanding the difference between both approaches is key in giving your trainee what they need from you.
Episode 107 is an interview with Vanessa Mee who shares top tips for newly qualified teachers. Some of the tips Vanessa shares could easily apply to trainee teachers, such as time blocking, looking after yourself as a priority and planning to do less in the classroom (so the students do more).
Episode 103 is about managing emails. Often, trainees become overwhelmed with the admin aspect of teaching, so being in a position to support and advise them in this aspect of their teacher role is essential.
Similarly, episode 98 is my most recent time blocking episode - it is worth a listen so you can support your trainee to manage their time.