3 things that you can do right now

Ensure you are a keen and enthusiastic mentor. Attend mentor training. Engage in training days. Use the provider's to guide and support you.

Do not put pressure on yourself to be perfect or think that you need to know everything. Work with colleagues in school who will be able to support you in any areas in which you feel less confident.

If there are other mentors within your school or federation of schools, work alongside them. Look at the targets that they are setting. Observe each other’s mentees and look for similarities or differences. You can support and learn from each other.

In this section

Work Collaboratively

In this section we focus on:

  • working and learning collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams of Teacher Educators
  • collaborating regularly and in significant ways with relevant stakeholders to monitor and improve teaching and learning

As teachers, we all know the value in working collaboratively, whether that is with the pupils within our classes or as practitioners working with other teachers to moderate, plan, assess, etc. It should come as no surprise then that the very best mentors also value the importance of collaboration.

Being a mentor means that you will be someone who is always keen to develop and improve their own practice. This is only possible by ensuring you work alongside others across the entire spectrum of school life. If you are a mentor to a trainee, you will need to be acutely aware of what expectations have been set out by the training provider. This means you will need to attend any mentor training sessions, read and respond to any communication that is sent out and ensure you are aware of what is being taught to the trainee so that you can make a link between school life and training days. If you are mentoring someone within your school, you will need to ensure that you work alongside other colleagues to ensure that your mentee is receiving the best possible support. Mentors are not perfect and they do not know everything. If your mentee has targets to meet in an area in which you are not that confident, the ability to work collaboratively and work alongside a colleague who has a particular strength in that area can be transformational; that will be true for both of you. The very best mentor will not pretend that they know the answers to questions that they do not just to save face.

Modelling the importance of recognising you are never the finished article is a crucial component of creating a professional relationship that is built on the right foundations. Ultimately, ensuring you are collaborative with the stakeholders who are working with the mentee will allow you to support them to the best of your ability, whilst ensuring that you are also able to grow and develop as a mentor. As we have mentioned in previous sections, the Teacher Educator-mentee relationship needs work both ways and a successful mentoring relationship should mean that there are just as many benefits for you as there are for the mentee.

Deliberate Practice for Teachers Educators: A Handbook

Page 11 of this handbook from Ambition Institute outlines how you and your school can create a culture of good practice, encouraging ‘drop ins’ and eradicating the suspicion that can exist when teachers engage in being observed.

Read the handbook here.

Peer Mentor Handbook

This handbook from the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania exemplify the boundaries that should be in place between a peer-to-peer mentor relationship. It breaks down the skills and qualities the best mentors will need to have and, just as importantly, the things they might want to avoid.

Read the handbook here.

Effective school partnerships and collaboration for school improvement: a review of the evidence

This report from the DfE and Dr Paul Armstrong is aimed at school leaders and outlines how schools can best work together to improve outcomes. A lot of the lessons are applicable to us as individuals and relate to how we can contribute to ITT programmes.

Read the report here.

For Learning in Teacher Education - FLiTE website (www.go.herts.ac.uk/FLiTE)

This website from the University of Hertfordshire provides resources that support collaborative professional development of teacher educators working in initial teacher education partnerships. They are developed from school- and university-based teacher educators’ stories of challenges in practice. Each story comes with suggestions and ideas for your use of the story. They cover guiding and assessing student teachers; collaborative working; quality; professionalism, growth and wellbeing.

Download some of the resources here

Story 2 – working collaboratively in school-university partnership

Story 3 – working collaboratively in developing teacher mentors

Story 6 – working collaboratively with clear roles

STEM Resources Primary Curated Collections

A fantastic online resource that covers a wider range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) materials that are useful to all primary teachers at any stage of their career. Invaluable pool of resources for both teacher educators and trainees.

View the resources here.

Post Compulsory Teacher Educators: Connecting professionals
Jim Crawley (Critical Publishing, 2016)

Jim Crawley describes how important it is for all teachers to continue their own development, through compulsory education once qualified. As mentors, we play an important role in ensuring that continuing development for those teachers is effective and meaningful.

Professional Dialogues in the Early years – Rediscovering early years pedagogy and principles
Elise Alexander(Critical Publishing, 2018)

As the title suggests, this is a great read for anyone who is working within the EYFS sector. The book states it is keen to ‘offer many suggestions about how those who are educating those practitioners, may encourage the developmental of the qualities required to become great teachers.’ There are lots of useful ideas but very specifically tailored to an EYFS environment.

Why good leaders make you feel safe

This TED talk from Simon Sinek considers how we can create an environment in which our colleagues and peers can feel safe and comfortable to take risks. Sinek’s talk is linked to business but is applicable to a mentoring relationship and culture within our schools.

How to be a great mentor

Kenneth Ortiz shares his thoughts and wisdom on what is needed to develop successful mentor relationships to promote the next level of leaders around us.

How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it)

This simple talk outlines an approach called the ‘transactional model’. It will help you to express yourself better without becoming frustrated.

Work Collaboratively - Further Development

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Work Collaboratively