3 things that you can do right now

Talk to your mentee about their moral purpose. Why are they a teacher? What is it that they value about their chosen profession? What type of teacher do they want to become? Having a ‘vision’ of the type of teacher they want to be will allow a mentee to become more aware of the areas that they want to focus on and improve.

Ask probing questions when giving feedback. Ensure your mentee is justifying the decisions they are making. This will allow them to define their own principles more clearly and support reflective practice.

Allow your mentee to observe a variety of teaching styles across as many contexts as possible. Including cross phase observations, working in different year groups etc.

In this section

Develop Professional Identities

In this section we focus on:

  • supporting teachers in the development of their professional identity
  • stimulating reflection and challenging teachers to take control of their own learning process, laying the foundation for 'lifelong learning' as a teacher

In previous sections we have spoken about the individual characteristics of classrooms up and down the country. It is vital that our schools reflect the multicultural nature of our society. With this in mind, it is also vital that we, as mentors, support our mentees to embrace the individual characteristics that make them who they are. This will not be a priority for either yourself or your mentee at the very start of their training if you are working within ITT. When September arrives, most trainees will be making sense of the endless acronyms associated with teaching, rather than considering their own pedagogical principles attached to their practice. However, as your mentee makes progress throughout the year and their further career, they will begin to understand their own progress and areas for growth. At this point and beyond, it is important to nurture their individual attitude towards teaching. The challenge for mentors comes when this is not aligned with their own vision for teaching. This can be difficult when giving feedback as you might have a differing opinion on how a lesson could or should have been taught.

The key is to remain professional and remember to think about the tools given to you by your training provider, Appropriate Body or school. The key driver is outcomes for pupils. Even if a lesson was taught in a different way to how you might have chosen to do it, did the pupils still succeed? If so, then recognising this and embracing the opportunity to support your mentee in finding their own professional identity will make you a very aware and supportive mentor. For trainees, the jump from trainee to Newly Qualified Teacher is a large one and you can support this transition by allowing your mentee to start laying foundations for the teacher they are going to be by recognising that they may choose to approach teaching in a different way and being comfortable with this. Irrelevant of the stage that your mentee is at in their career, allowing them to discover their own teaching style, complimented by your experience and knowledge as a mentor, facilitates the mentee to take control of their own learning process and encourages them to become a reflective practitioner who is aware of their own strengths and areas for development as a teacher.

To develop a strong sense of professionalism, a teacher must focus on the critical elements of attitude, behavior and communication.

Whilst not as current as other peices or research, this text from 2001 is just as relevant now as it was when first written. The article argues that a professional 'doesnt see his or her profession as a job, but rather sees it as a calling that is all about caring for children'.

Read the article here.

Deliberate Practice for Teacher 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.

How schools can engage with research and evidence

Dr Deborah Netolicky considers at how schools and teachers can engage with research. Broken down into five easy steps, this is an accessible blog that gives a great starting point for any Teacher Educator who is keen to develop their own knowledge.

Read the blog here.

Mentor Evaluation Form Examples

This audit from the University of Wisconsin acts as an excellent self-reflection tool. Completing a straightforward audit form will allow you identify areas that you feel less confident in as a Teacher Educator.

View the forms here.

The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students

This report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) undertakes a detailed review of the evidence on the impact of teacher professional development. Ambition Institute have worked alongside the EPI and the report argues that high quality CPD has a significant impact on the learning outcomes of children and adults working with the Teacher Educator.

Read the report here.

The Professional Identity of Teacher Educators: Career on the Cusp?
Ronnie Davey (Routledge, 2013)  Not italic

Ronnie Davey from the University of Canterbury explores what the ‘professional identity’ of a Teacher Educator is and how this differs from the professional identity of a teacher generally.

Being a teacher and a teacher educator – developing a new identity?Article in Professional Development in Education, Volume 40, Issue 3, 2014, Pages 436-449
Elizabeth White

This article considers the ever-growing importance of mentors within schools and how this role impacts on the professional identity of teachers. White focusses on the CPD that exists for existing teachers to develop into effective Teacher Educators. 

Read the article here.

Teacher Professional Learning and Development

This free online book from the University of Auckland, outlines how teachers can invest in their own professional development.

Read the book here.

Non-Directive Coaching: Attitudes, Approaches and Applications
Bob Thomson (Critical Publishing, 2013)

Well respected Bob Thomson writes how important it is for a coach/mentor to be clear about whether they want to be directive or non-directive in their approach. Each chapter offers you the chance to answer reflective questions that allow you to determine which type of practitioner you are or want to become.

Teacher educators pathways to becoming research active

This collection of case studies outlines the different pathways that teachers have followed to becoming Teacher Educators. Some have envisaged carrying out this role their entire lives and others have fallen into it without it ever being part of their plan. This is a realistic viewpoint and represents the experience of a lot of Teacher Educators. The experiences of the Teacher Educators within this accessible booklet will resonate with a range of practitioners and will support you in building your own skills.

Read the case studies here.

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.

Develop Professional Identities - Further Development

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Develop Professional Identities