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The role of a mentor to a NQT

The first few weeks and the first few months of being a newly qualified teacher are amongst the hardest of your teaching career. As teachers we need to enable our self to be versatile and effective ensuring our class and us have the most successful year. To step cautiously and steadily every NQT needs a diligent and patient mentor. Someone who will make a difference, transition you into teaching life and give you the most valuable advice, time and time again. Hand on heart I can say I have had and do have the 3 best mentors any teacher could ask for. Hence my second blog is about my experiences and suggestions for having a mentor.

In my final year of placement, I came across two very profound teachers/mentors; Sarah and Cherryl took me under their wing and mentored me throughout my placement. The most important thing they did was believed in me, even when at times I didn’t. I have shared my worst fears in teaching with my mentors and I have also shared ideas I’m super excited to try out in the classroom. They say ‘Aashumi you are born to teach’ those words resonate in my ears every time I am having a down day at school, if I have not taught a topic the way I should have or if I’ve not been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their allegiance in me seems to ebb and weaken the doubts I may sometimes have in my own teaching ability.

Post my NQT year, during my 2 years at Cannon Lane in Pinner I had a remarkable mentor, she tolerated a lot of my tantrums and annoying attributes. She did say that’s what she was there for, to make my teaching day comfortable and smooth even if that meant I’d moan at her. Mentors should have an open-door policy, honest and caring nature like Heena did, that is when teachers feel secure and well-heeled in their schools. My head teacher Mr. Phillips and I shared this same open-door policy and I could pluck up the courage to tell him just how I felt about certain things. Be open to accept praise as well as constructive criticism from them and learn from their wealth of experiences.

The much-needed common denominator here is the sense of camaraderie. Having faith in each other’s opinions and suggestions, working towards the same end goals and achieving them and celebrating successes together. I am grateful for having the opportunity to work as a team, gather from them the immense, vast ocean of knowledge they have amassed in their own teaching careers. One point I must stress is, don’t be disheartened by development points because don’t forget, your mentors have been there done that. Share your fears, aspirations, ideas, suggestions, be inquisitive, ask lots of specific questions all the way but most of all respect and cherish their role in your teaching. For a more robust bond, meet your mentor outside the realms of teaching; get to know and understand each other.

Every mentor wants to see you succeed, it is also a sense of achievement for them personally. They want to see you get recognition, praise and triumph in being a great teacher. Mentors should follow the 3 C:

Challenge– challenge us so that we can blossom into outstanding teachers.

Collaborate– collaborate with us so we can embody their teaching ethos.

Celebrate– celebrate our successes, as they are the fruits of the collaborated effort, guidance and time they invest is us. I cannot remember where I heard this during my university days……. but if this is true I’d be honoured!

“Great mentees have many of the same qualities as great mentors”
Thank you for believing in me @cherrylkd, Sarah Biddulph @sandysj24 and Heena Mistry.

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The author

Aashumi is a primary school teacher at A’Soud Global School in Muscat (Oman) and was drawn to teaching by the love of influencing tiny minds and positively contributing to their education from a young age.

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