3 things that you can do right now

Remember how you felt during your own training and make a list of things that you are grateful your mentor did to support you, then replicate these.

Embrace the fact that the pupils in our schools benefit from a variety of different teaching styles and keep this in mind when working with your mentee who might have a different set of skills or point of view to you.

Consider how your teaching practice models the attitudes and behaviours you would expect from your mentee. Ensure that you are not only telling your mentee what to do but modelling how to do it as well.

In this section

Respect Learners

In this section we focus on:

  • respecting individual learners and diverse learning communities (including part-time and second-career teachers)
  • recognising and identifying the concerns of teachers and helping to create conditions that support their growth
  • being culturally aware and promoting social justice in teacher education
  • embracing ethical leadership practices in education

Take a journey back to your first day on a new placement. The new commute, building, classrooms, staff – the list goes on. All these things can make even the most confident of wannabe teachers feel nervous. As a trainee or Newly Qualified Teacher, you walk into your brand new classroom with a stomach full of butterflies and can be greeted by either a friendly, welcoming face who is prepared and ready for your arrival or a stressed and distracted teacher who looks like they have 20 other priorities before speaking to you. It is clear which would be preferable for your mentee and the best mentors are the ones who respect the concerns of the mentee and help to settle them in to their placement as early as possible. Fostering a positive professional relationship can have a huge impact on the progress of your mentee and allows you to manage any challenging conversations that you may need to have during the placement or NQT year. Respecting your mentee’s current ability level will allow you to create an environment in which your mentee can feel comfortable, make progress and grow into a better practitioner.

Just as we do with the pupils we teach, it is vital that mentors within our schools respect the different values and cultures that mentees hold. If supporting a trainee, the training provider will organise an ‘alternative experience’ for the trainee. This may mean you have a trainee who joins you for a short placement having been immersed in a school that has a very different context and ethos to yours. This is also true of any induction period where you may be supporting a new teacher within your school. There may be a period of adjustment that the mentee will need to make and you can make this far easier by explaining the decisions you take both as a practitioner and as a school. This makes things you might consider to be obvious explicit to the mentee and will allow them to adapt to their new context far quicker. 

Peer Mentor Handbook

This handbook from the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania lays out 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 you might want to avoid.

Read the handbook here.

Fostering Positive Professional Relationships

Dr Kathy Barrett investigates how we can build positive professional relationships by following a theory called the ‘5As’. It is written from the perspective of the learner, rather than the mentor but is a great starting point when looking at how to create a supportive and respectful learning environment.

Read the article here.

One to Grow On / Respecting Students Article in Educational Leadership, Volume 69, Number 1, September 2011, Pages 94-95
Carol Ann Tomlinson

In this column, Carol Ann Tomlinson talks about how positive attributes that teachers have towards their pupils can have a profound impact on their progress. The column is discussing the relationship between teachers and their class students in a KS4 environment but is transferrable to a mentor/mentee relationship. "A new teacher who doesn’t make missteps is a rare beast” comments Tomlinson, something to remind yourself of in those tricky moments during an observation!

Read the article here.

Education Support – Looking after teacher wellbeing

Education Support work alongside education staff to ensure that if and when a member of staff is struggling with their own mental health, they have somewhere to seek support. This helpful website gives tips and hints on how to look after your own and others mental health, within an educational context.

Visit the website here.

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

Teacher Educator Story 11 considers supporting student teachers’ wellbeing and Story 12  explores the challenge of avoiding prejudice against a student teacher. FLiTE resources can be used for individual or collaborative professional development of teacher educators working in initial teacher education partnerships.

Download the resources here

Teacher Educator - Story 11

Teacher Educator - Story 12


Social Media and Mental Health in Schools (Positive Mental Health)
Jonathan Glazzard and Colin Mitchell (Critical Publishing, 2018)

Jonathan Glazzard and Colin Mitchell examine how schools can support their students and staff by using social media safely and how to ensure we reap the benefits that technology can bring. Chapter 5 focuses on how we as teachers use these platforms and how it can be valuable for a trainee to have advise on in an early stage of their career.

Tackling Social Disadvantage Through Teacher Education
Ian Thompson (Critical Publishing, 2017)

This bite sized book from the University of Oxford’s Ian Thompson looks at how policy defines disadvantage across our schools and how we as teacher educators can try to impact on these issues in our own contexts. There is a lot of learning that is applicable to our work as teacher educators, as well as practitioners in the classroom.

Coming soon.

Respect Learners - Further Development

Download our bitesize guide

Respect Learners